Virginia Indians produced copper ornaments from native ore as far back as the Late Archaic period. Copper was likely a high status material that symbolized social power and was exchanged during trade or political negotiations between groups. Europeans used the cultural ideas surrounding copper in Native communities to establish trade relationships with Virginia Indians. The colonists produced and traded many hundreds of copper objects and ornaments, most of them made from sheet copper that could be cut into different shapes or rolled into tubular beads, shown in the photos above. Archaeologists distinguish between Native and European copper sources by analyzing the amount of the trace element zinc in the metal specimen.