Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Gerald F. Schroedl

Committee Members

Charles H. Faulkner, Jefferson Chapman


During the 19th century, several Cherokee towns were located in the Appalachian Summit of western North Carolina, in the Tuckasegee and Oconaluftee river valleys. They were termed the Out Towns by the English, due to their isolation in the mountainous region. The Out Towns remained largely isolated from the English, and later the Americans, due to this geographic isolation. As a result, very little historical documentation exists for the Out Towns.

Very few large-scale archaeological excavations have been performed in the area. Little has been written about the archaeology of the area since the work of Egloff (1967), Dickens (1976, 1978), and Keel (1976). These three authors originally defined the archaeological manifestation of the historic Cherokee occupation in the area, termed the historic Qualla phase. Recently derived archaeological data are available from a survey performed on the Qualla Boundary around Cherokee, North Carolina, and are a significant contribution to historic Qualla phase studies.

The focus of this study is syntheses of the historical documentation of and archaeological work in the Out Town area. Combination of these two sources reveal new interpretations about the occupation of the Out Towns during the Qualla phase, including the utilization of a wider variety of landforms during the early Qualla phase and the abandonment of the Out Towns in 1761 after their destruction by English military forces. In the study, the Qualla phase is also divided into three chronological sections, derived from the archaeological and historical data.

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