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Amy C. Leuchtmann

THE CENTRAL PLACES OF ALBEMARLE SOUND: EXAMINING TRANSITIONAL MARITIME ECONOMIES THROUGH ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE DISTRIBUTION

(Under the direction of Professor Nathan Richards) Department of History, January 2011.

Historical evidence shows that the Albemarle Sound region has a long history of maritime trade. As technologies improved, early settlers moved beyond simple subsistence farming to expand extensive maritime trade networks along the coast as well as to Europe and the West Indies. Ports along the sound and the rivers flowing in to it acted as economic distribution centers for surrounding agrarian communities. Through the centuries, this region's economic systems evolved, undergoing transitions in transportation and trade practices. This thesis analyzes over two hundred vessels lost in the Albemarle Sound region to emphasize signatures of the economic transitions found in the archaeological record. Trends highlighted in the database are also compared to the historical record in an effort to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the maritime economic history of the Albemarle Sound region.