Fish traps are visible and poignant reminders of the late Woodland Era (900–1600 CE) of Virginia's Native Americans. To harvest the fish, they used large boulders to form a V-shaped dam pointing downstream. The Reverend John Banister reported on the use of fish traps during a trip he made to Virginia in 1677: “We make a Dam of loose stones (where there is plenty at hand) across the river, & in it, one, two, or more pipes or tunnels [are placed] for the water to pass; at the mouth of which is set a pot of reeds, wove in the form of a Cone, whose base is about three feet & altitude ten into which the Swiftness of the current carries the fish, & wedges them so fast they cannot possibly return.” Settlers also built these dams. The Martinsville Fish Dam, however, is probably associated with a nearby Woodland village site of the fourteenth century. The best time to view the dam is in autumn when the water is low.
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Martinsville Fish Dam
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