The Town of Pomeiooc
“The Tovvne of Pomeiooc.” Theodor de Bry’s engraving of the American Indian town of Pomeiooc, published in Thomas Hariot’s 1588 book A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. In the center of the image stands Pomeiooc, which consists of several buildings surrounded by a circular palisade. In the middle of the town is a fire around which numerous people are sitting, kneeling, and standing. In the bottom left corner two footpaths lead away from the town. Outside the palisade in the upper left corner is a field of what appears to be corn.
The text accompanying the image reads:
The towns of this country are in a manner like unto those which are in Florida, yet are they not so strong nor yet preserved with so great care. They are compassed about with poles stark fast in the ground, but they are not very strong. The entrance is very narrow as may be seen by this picture, which is made according to the form of the town of Pomeiooc. There are but few houses therein, save those which belong to the king and his nobles. On the one side is their temple separated from the other houses, and marked with the letter A. It is built round, and covered with skin mats, and as it were compassed about with curtains without windows, and has no light but by the door. On the other side is the king’s lodging marked with the letter B. Their dwellings are built with certain potes [sticks] fastened together, and covered with mats which they turn up as high as they think good, and so receive in the light and other. Some are also covered with boughs of trees, as every man lusts or likes best. They keep their feasts and make good cheer together in the middle of the town as it is described in the 17 figure. When the town stands far from the water they dig a great pond noted with the letter C where hence they fetch as much water as they need.
Theodor de Bry was a Flemish-born engraver and publisher who based his illustrations for Hariot’s book on the New World paintings of colonist John White. These depictions of the landscapes and residents of North Carolina provided Europeans with some of their earliest notions of what the North American continent looked like. This engraving was based on White’s watercolor painting, “Indian Village of Pomeiooc.”