Annual Meeting 2004

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Artifacts from the Kanawha Valley Mound Explorations of the Bureau of American Ethnology.
Darla I. Spencer, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., Hurricane, WV.

This presentation is the result of a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council sponsored by the Council for West Virginia Archaeology to photograph artifacts curated at the Smithsonian Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland. Of the approximately 600 artifacts from the Kanawha Valley, the majority were collected during the BAE mound explorations in the 1880s. Very few individuals have seen the collections. Although specific provenience is lacking for many of the artifacts, generalizations can be drawn from them about the mortuary customs and lifeways of the Woodland peoples who occupied the Kanawha Valley.

Site Investigations on the Monongahela National Forest.
Valerie J. McCormack, USDA Forest Service, Monongahela National Forest, Elkins, WV.

In the fall of 2003 the Monongahela National Forest began a four year project to evaluate prehistoric sites and to use this data to revise the prehistoric context for the National Forest. This paper will discuss the research plans, how sites are being selected for site evaluation, and the overall project goals. In the summer of 2004 field investigations were completed for five sites on the Gauley Ranger District in Nicholas and Webster counties. Preliminary information will be presented on these sites and discussion will address how the information will guide future investigations.

Excavations at 46Rd325: Preliminary Research on an Upland Multicomponent Prehistoric Site in the Cheat River Basin.
Amelia Clark, West Virginia Wesleyan College and John Calabrese, USDA Forest Service, Monongahela National Forest, Elkins, WV.

The site Red Station is located on a long, broad south-facing saddle, or gap, on the uplands of the Cheat River Basin at an elevation of 2880 feet amsl. The site is adjacent to a spring and an Alderson chert quarry. Preliminary archaeological excavations have revealed the presence of a Terminal Archaic/Early Woodland component stratified below a Late Woodland component. The earlier component is characterized by numerous pit features. The Late Woodland component consists of a rich midden and two postmold features. Thus far a total of c. 16,000 lithic artifacts have been recovered from six 1×1-meter test units, as have steatite vessel fragments, groundstone, and a variety of stone tools. Over 100 ceramic fragments were recovered from the Late Woodland component. While it is far too early to draw any firm conclusions, the apparently intense prehistoric use of the site may call into question some of our notions about prehistoric upland occupation in this part of West Virginia.

The Distribution of Paleoindian Points in West Virginia: Preliminary Results of an On-going Study.
C. Michael Anslinger, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., Hurricane, West Virginia.

Preliminary results are presented for an active study documenting the geographical distribution of Paleoindian points in West Virginia. Data have been collected primarily from a review of site inventory forms maintained by the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, CRM reports and the published literature. Few private collections have been examined. Results suggest occupation of the state during this period was not widespread or intensive. The highest density of diagnostic specimens has been reported along portions of the Ohio and lower Kanawha rivers, as well as upland areas in Boone County. The vast majority of specimens date to the early part of the period; evidence for late Paleoindian occupation is sparse.

Ceramics and Intra-Village Organization: A Theoretical Framework for the Analysis of Ceramic Artifacts at a Fort Ancient Village in West Virginia.
Stevan C. Pullins, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., Hurricane, WV.

The Late Prehistoric component of the Burning Spring Branch Site (46Ka142) represents a small, semi-circular village located on the Kanawha River in West Virginia. The portion of the village within the palisade was excavated in its entirety, and preliminary evidence indicates that the village component was occupied for only a short period of time before it was abandoned. This offers the opportunity to use ceramic vessel artifacts to examine intra-village social organization with limited interference from temporal variation. This paper will develop the theoretical framework within which this analysis will be conducted.

Preliminary Overview of Excavations at Elk Fork (15Mo140), Morgan County, Kentucky.
Richard L. Herndon and D. Randall Cooper, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., Lexington, Kentucky.

Phase III excavations at the Elk Fork site in Morgan County, Kentucky have produced evidence for a transitional Late Woodland/Fort Ancient occupation and multiple Late Archaic Maple Creek phase occupations. The former has been radiocarbon dated to between A.D. 1000 and 1200, but the artifact assemblage appears to be largely Late Woodland in character. This occupation produced one structure, 55 features, and 47 postmolds. The Maple Creek occupations were radiocarbon dated to between 1900 and 900 B.C. and contained, as a whole, six structures, 26 features, and 192 postmolds. This paper will provide a brief overview of these data, as well as, some preliminary regional comparisons.

Prehistoric Subsistence Patterns in the Appalachian Plateau: Another Look at Site 46Su3.
Emmett Brown and Audrey G. Brown, Michael Baker Jr. Inc., Charleston, WV.

This paper contains the preliminary analysis of animal bones from a Fort Ancient Village site (46Su3) located in the Bluestone Reservoir, Summers County, West Virginia. The site was excavated during the late 1970s and faunal material recovered from these excavations was analyzed and reported by D.C. Dirkmaat of the University of Pittsburgh’s Archaeological Research Program. A small faunal collection was recovered by the Army Corp of Engineers several years after the University of Pittsburgh excavation and was not part of the original analysis. This paper outlines our preliminary analysis of this faunal collection and compares it with the earlier work conducted by Dirkmaat. The addition of this faunal collection to the original research on Site 46Su3 will expand our knowledge of subsistence patterns at the site and for the Fort Ancient period in Southern West Virginia.

Communalism Among the Intermontane and Monongahela Cultures.
David N. Fuerst, Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky.

Archeologists have expressed a growing interest in how communalism affected the rise of complex societies in the Southeast. Communalism generally refers to a political strategy for sharing, and the equitable allocation and distribution of resources. The interest in communalism primarily stems from the rejection of models that emphasize the linear emergence of ranked hierarchical Mississippian societies from an egalitarian Late Woodland base. Many archeologists no longer believe major material differences existed between chiefs and their followers, or that hierarchical settlement patterns and political centralization confirm the existence of social inequality or coercion in Mississippian societies. A more communal view of Mississippian societies has also arisen from iconographic studies of their art, and comparisons to contemporaneous Fort Ancient societies. This paper briefly examines communalism and its effects on political centralization and status differentiation among the Late Prehistoric/Protohistoric Intermontane and Monongahela cultures of the Central Appalachians.

Rapps Cave, Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
Kim A. McBride, Kentucky Archaeological Survey, Lexington, Kentucky.

Rapps Cave is an important cave site in southeastern West Virginia. A long oral tradition about Native American use of this cave led to a preliminary testing project to assess the nature of the deposits. This testing suggested use from the Archaic through the Late Woodland, including use of the cave as a repository for human remains. The assessment showed that most, if not all, intact habitation or use areas have been severely disturbed by looting, but that important petroglyphs are preserved. The West Virginia Cave Conservancy is working to protect the site.

Update on Frontier Fort Project, 2004.
W. Stephen McBride, McBride Preservation Services, and Kentucky Archaeological Survey, Lexington, Kentucky.

In 2004, Drs. Kim A. McBride and W. Stephen McBride of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, University of Kentucky continued their ongoing archaeological research of eighteenth century frontier sites in the Greenbrier/Middle New River valleys of West Virginia. We report here on results of work at the Col. James Graham house in Summers County and the Fort Donnally site in Greenbrier County. The most interesting discoveries at the Graham house were an intact late eighteenth to early nineteenth century midden and a cellar in the present front yard. The investigations at Fort Donnally (built in 1774) focused on a stone chimney foundation. Its double configuration matches historic documents that described this structure as a double log house/kitchen with a central chimney. Since documents also suggested that the house/kitchen made up part of the stockade wall, we were able to locate a section of stockade trench, and plan to investigate this more thoroughly in 2005.

The Big Beaver Creek Fortification: Another Re-Visit to 46RG1.
Frank Sellers, National Park Service, New River Gorge National River, Glenn Jean, WV.

Pioneers to western Virginia encountered a large number of prehistoric earthworks and mounds. Descriptions of them, however, are often quite sketchy, and many have since been destroyed. This paper describes my research on the Ancient Fortification along Beaver Creek in Raleigh County, West Virginia (46RG1). The rectangular stone earthwork was visited and surveyed by Alfred Beckley in 1836, and mapped by his friend, and Revolutionary War hero, Isaac Craig the following year. Although the earthwork has been destroyed, my recent investigations seek to confirm its location, consolidate all known information about the site, and suggest the need for additional archival and archeological research.

The Organization of Lithic Technology and the Bifurcate Occupation of the Hart Site (15La183), Lawrence County, Kentucky.
Andrew P. Bradbury, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., Lexington, Kentucky.

Excavations at the Hart Site revealed an Early Archaic, Bifurcate Base occupation. Analysis of the lithic artifacts from this component allow for inferences concerning the organization of lithic technology at the site. Roughly forty percent of the flake debris was of non-local chert sources. A number of bifacial tools were maintained and used at the site and a staged approach to bifacial tool manufacture is indicated. Based on a high amount of use and reworking, these bifacial tools appeared to be highly curated. Raw materials percentages at the site indicate a west to east movement of people/materials.

The McCafferty Run Site (33Ro919): Evidence for early Late Woodland and late Late Woodland/Fort Ancient Occupation in Ross County, Ohio.
Jonathan P. Kerr (Lexington, Kentucky) and C. Michael Anslinger (Hurricane, WV), Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.

Data recovery excavations completed in 2004 at the McCafferty Run Site (33Ro919) in Ross County, Ohio identified two spatially discrete occupations. In the north part of the site subplowzone pit and postmold features associated with a terminal Middle Woodland to early Late Woodland occupation typified by Chesser Notched hafted bifaces and grit tempered cordmarked ceramics was identified. Flotation of fill samples collected from feature contexts resulted in the recovery of paleoethnobotanical remains and small quantities of calcined bone. This component is expected to date to approximately A.D. 500 to 650. Removal of the plowzone from the south end of the site exposed a thin deposit of intact sheet midden and a small number of pit features. Recovered materials included lithics, ceramics, and floral and faunal remains. Diagnostic hafted bifaces and ceramics indicate a late Late Woodland/ early Fort Ancient occupation, dating to approximately A.D. 900-1100. Analyses have not been completed, but it is evident that site data will add to our understanding of Ohio Valley Late Woodland societies.