Stage II: A flourishing Tidewater culture (ca. AD 1400-1560)

This stage represents the period during which the former immigrant population comfortably established itself in the tidewater reaches of the Potomac drainage and asserted its influence in the region. The size of the enclosed space decreased, and the defensive character of the enclosure system was minimal. Through this stage, there is increasing evidence that the site assumed an increasingly specialized function and did not serve as the residence for most of the population.

The outermost features marking this stage are palisade trench Features 5-7. The driven-post palisade line designated Feature 8 might represent the outermost barrier in this system. This inward shift of the enclosures left the ditch outside of the site proper, where it still could have served for refuse disposal. The lack of bastions and ditch/embankment reinforcement probably signal a distinct relaxation of defensive concerns. At this time the maximum diameter of the enclosed space decreased to 74 m, or an overall interior space of 4,300 m².

The building designated Structure 1 is suggested to date from early in this stage. If so, it would have been placed very near the inner palisade, at the perimeter of the enclosed space. Ossuary II on Stewart's (1992) site plan lies just southeast of this structure and may also date to this phase, but whether it intruded upon the later palisade (Feature 2), or vice-versa, is not clear. If it does not, then it is likely that burials continued to be placed outside the palisades.

Features 3 and 4 palisade trenches and the Feature 2 driven-post line comprise a second portion of this system. More than likely by this time, a significant portion of the community population was residing in a dispersed settlement outside of the enclosed area at 44ST2.

Other structures probably associated with this stage (or prior Phase 4) are shown on Stewart's plan. The most obvious is south of the project area on the west side of the site. As Schmitt (1965) and Stewart noted, it appears to be incorporated in what is referred to here as the Feature 2 palisade line. Also, pit Feature 12 is interpreted as associated with this phase of construction. Recall, too, that it is the pit feature returning the latest radiocarbon date (ca. AD 1560).

Other features associated with this stage lie toward the center of the site and were not encountered within the project area discussed here. Stewart's (1992) plan, however, provides sufficient information to consider them in this discussion. These are a palisade trench, and possibly also by the Feature 2 line. (The apparent intrusion of the inner palisade into the western post building described under Phase 5 is evidence of its later date.) These inner enclosures define the smallest space. The maximum diameter of the inner trench is 33 m, defining an interior space of about 855 m².

Stewart's (1992) plan depicts a post building located at the precise center of the site, that is believed to be the principal building associated with this stage. Ossuaries III and V immediately adjacent to this structure are also interpreted as part of this period of use.

This stage represents the culmination of the trend toward specialized function and, concomitantly, decreasing site area. The central structure is a possible mortuary building or chiefly residence. The inclusion of ossuaries within this space underscores the specialized function of the area. (These ossuaries contained no European items and, thus, appear to be prehistoric interments.) It is probably no coincidence that ossuaries are shown only within the innermost enclosure system at Moyaone, as well. Beverley's (1947[1705]) comments offer some sense of these kinds of enclosed spaces:

They often encompass their whole town; but for the most part only their King's Houses, and as many others as they judge sufficient to harbor all their people, when an enemy comes against them. They never fail to secure with their Palisado, all their religioius reliques and remains of their Princes.

This level of site specialization may be one of the more obvious indicators of achievement of chiefdom-level organization in eastern Virginia.