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      The Nanticoke originally inhabited the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay along the Nanticoke River in Maryland. Culturally, they were closely associated with surrounding groups from the Algonquian language family such as the Conoys. Unfortunately, only a few details survive about traditional lifeways. Men hunted and fished, and women practiced maize horticulture. The Nanticoke were adept at the production of shell beads for peake (wampum) and at the processing of furs. A hereditary chief ruled over several villages and, with elders, formed an upper social stratum. Individuals traced their ancestry through women. The Nanticoke buried their dead in ossuaries (mass graves) after lengthy interment in aboveground mortuary structures.