On Sunday, local history buffs will have the opportunity to learn more about excavations at Saura Native American sites in Stokes County.
The Stokes County Historical Society is sponsoring “The Sauratown Woman and Upper Sauratown,” a presentation by Dr. Stephen Davis Jr., associate director of Research Laboratories of Archaeology for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The free event is open to the public. It will take place Sunday, Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. in the Walnut Cove Public Library’s large conference room.
“We’re very hopeful we will have standing room only,” said Charles Farlow 0f the Stokes County Historical Society.
The speaker is not new to Stokes County. As a college student at Chapel Hill in the 1970s, Davis was involved in the archaeological dig at Upper Sauratown — the site of a 17th-century Saura Indian village, near Walnut Cove and Madison. This was the site where remains of the “Sauratown Woman” or “Sauratown Princess” were found.
Researchers were able to reconstruct her likeness for a display at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, and the Saura woman’s likeness is one of three bronze statues at the entrance of the museum.
Davis is expected to discuss the discovery of the Sauratown Woman and excavations at other nearby sites and to show photographs during his presentation Sunday. Farlow said this will be the first presentation of this nature that has taken place in Stokes County in recent years, possibly ever.
The Saura have a “lengthy and complex history,” Farlow noted. The Saura “were a small, Siouan-speaking tribe of agriculturalists who lived along the banks of the Dan River in Piedmont North Carolina and Virginia,” according to an article compiled by Farlow. Their villages gradually diminished over the years and melded with the Catawba Indian tribe.