Annual Meeting 2009


Bob Maslowski, Marshall University Graduate College
Fort Ancient and the Shawnee
For decades Ohio Valley archeologists have used the direct historical approach to link the Shawnee to Fort Ancient village sites. This link is evaluated in terms of NAGPRA lines of evidence used for determining Native American cultural affiliation. The ten lines of evidence listed by the University of Arizona for their cultural affiliation study of the New River Gorge National River and the Gauley River National Recreation Area include anthropological, archeological, biological, folklore, geographical, historical, kinship, linguistic, oral tradition and expert opinion.

David McBride, Wilbur Smith Associates
Phase III Mitigation for a Portion of Site 46CB42, a Multi-component Site in Cabell County, West Virginia
In 2008, Wilbur Smith Associates contracted with HADCO to conduct the Phase III excavation of a portion of site 46Cb42 to mitigate the effects of a utility line. The site had a Late Woodland component that appears to be more similar to Woods and Niebert than to Childers. The plant remains analysis indicated that the sites inhabitants were collecting nuts and wild fruits, cultivating mixed gardens and were beginning to dabble in corn. Their use of nuts was more similar to people in the interior Southeast than to those in the mid-Ohio Valley of central Ohio and northern Kentucky.

Kim A. McBride, Kentucky Archaeological Survey, and W. Stephen McBride, McBride Preservation Services.
Frontier Fort Project Update: African-American presence at Arbuckle’s Fort and Research on the Role of African-Americans in the Revolutionary War militia.
The presence of African-Americans at Arbuckle’s Fort in Greenbrier County was first suggested to us by our recovery in 1997 of a small eight sided disk with an X incised in it. Objects with an inscribed X have been found on well-documented African-American sites, such as slave cabins. The disk may have functioned as an amulet, representing links to West African religious traditions. Finding this disk lead us to conduct archival research on the role of African-Americans in the militia; data are scarce but some information has been uncovered, including the presence of a few Free Blacks in the militia and the service of some enslaved individuals, most notably Dick Pointer and Greenbrier Ben. The recovery of a second of these disks at Arbuckle’s Fort last spring bolsters the probability that these objects are more than coincidental. Both disks were found in the blacksmithing area of the fort, leading us to hypothesize the presence of an African-American blacksmith. Whether this person was enslaved or free is not known.

Darla Spencer, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.
The Distribution of Siouan-Style Attributes on Pottery from Late Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sites in Southern West Virginia
This paper presents an update of a stylistic analysis conducted on pottery from Late Prehistoric and protohistoric village sites in southern West Virginia. The yearlong project was conducted to determine how widespread the use of corncob and net impressing on vessel surfaces were in what was assumed to be Fort Ancient ceramic assemblages. Corncob and net-impressed pottery was common in Southwest Virginia and the Piedmont of North Carolina at villages occupied by Siouan populations. This paper will discuss the distribution of these Siouan-style pottery attributes in Virginia, the Southeast, and elsewhere.

Roger B. Wise, Council for West Virginia Archaeology
A Rock Cairn Complex in Southern Cabell County, WV
Controversy surrounds the origin of rock heaps, stone mounds, or rock cairns in the Appalachians, and uplands from New England to the Deep South. While some argue that these are the result of historic field clearing for agriculture or grazing, others suggest ritual usage by prehistoric peoples. A complex of 53 stone constructions on three terraces on a steep hillside in southern Cabell County, West Virginia, presents a variety of form and arrangement, and is a candidate for prehistoric origin. I call for more attention to discover and document such complexes since their typical hillside placement is often given only light coverage in cultural resource surveys.

Jim Glanville, Independent Scholar
Unconventional Sources for Studies of Engraved Marine Shell Gorgets
Professional studies of engraved marine shell gorgets are briefly surveyed. Gorgets known from publications and public activities of the relic collecting community are described. Examples of gorgets from such unconventional sources are pictured. The validity of unconventional gorget information is discussed. The case is made that gorgets from unconventional sources are worthy of professional study because, even when lacking detailed provenience information, they yield information about the cultures that made them and about connections among those cultures. Fakes are considered. It is concluded that judicious studies of this type are valuable for obtaining regional cultural insights.

Sheldon R. Burdin, Kentucky Archeological Survey and David N. Fuerst, New River Gorge National River
Archeological Investigations of the New River Lowlands: A Preliminary Report
During the summer and fall of 2009, the Kentucky Archeological Survey and members of the West Virginia Archeological Society conducted archeological survey and exploratory excavations in lowland settings along the New River between Meadow Creek and Hinton, WV. The work was done for the New River Gorge National River and is part of the park’s long-term efforts to understand prehistoric Native American land use patterns. The survey identified several archeological sites in different lowland locations and re-examined the 46Su30, 46Rg10, and 46Rg72 sites. Geophysical and exploratory testing at the 46Rg7 site documented the presence of a dense Late Prehistoric agricultural occupation evidenced by a deep intact midden, hearths, storage and refuse pits, postmolds, and materials that included corn, nutshell, and limestone-tempered and mussel shell tempered pottery that appears to date to the 13th to 14th century.

James H. Kompanek and Simone G. Kompanek, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.
Reconstructing Historic Urban Landscapes: The Highlawn Historic Mapping Project
How to aggregate significant quantities of data is an often encountered challenge facing researchers studying urban environments. Intensive historic map and literature reviews can provide a great deal of insight on the location, significance, and context for both extant and non-extant cultural resources. Through the use of GIS, this data can be parsed to provide a temporal and geographic context to existing information and provide a framework for future field studies. The Highlawn Historic Mapping Project (HHMP) is one such initiative. This paper will discuss the background and methodology for the HHMP and how it may serve as an example for future architecture and archaeological projects in urban environments.

C. Michael Anslinger and James H. Kompanek, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.
What Next? Fifteen years of Archaeological Data Collection in the Southern Coal Fields of West Virginia.
Since 1994 Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRA) has completed systematic survey of large areas in the dissected hill country of southern West Virginia. These studies, completed primarily in advance of surface mining operations, have resulted in the recordation of a large number of sites dating to both the historic and prehistoric periods. Although the overwhelming majority of sites have been determined ineligible to the National Register of Historic Places, collectively the data obtained have the potential to advance our understanding of settlement and land use patterns in this region of the state, which to date has received only sparse attention from the professional archaeological community. The purpose of this presentation is to report on an on-going project by CRA to integrate site data into its in-house GIS. Currently data from 2004-2009 have been entered, represented 56,000 surveyed acres and 550 sites.

Jerry Anderson, Little Kanawha Chapter of WVAS.
A Memorial Bridge Early Archaic Site Retrospective
The Memorial Bridge Site was entirely early Archaic with a wide variety of point types: Kessell, Palmer, Thebes, Thebes E-notch, Stanly, Lost Lake, and Kirk. Since the earlier report, the artifact distributions have been reworked and some charcoal analysis has been done. This site will be discussed in its relationship to other sites in the immediate area as well as sites distantly removed, such as the St. Albans Site.

Dr. Robert L. Rankin, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, the University of Kansas
Chronology of the Siouan Languages and Eastern Siouan
Dr. Rankin will give an overview of the Siouan language family and the locations of the various Siouan tribes at European contact and will provide a chronology of the entire language family as determined from terms for cultigens. He will also address the Virginia Siouan subgroup, and issues and problems related with it.