By: Nikki A. Waters and Donald R. Cochran
Report of Investigations 53. Archaeological Resources Management Service, Ball State University.
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An archaeological investigation of rockshelters in the Hemlock Cliffs and Mesmore Cliffs areas of the Hoosier National Forest in Crawford County, Indiana was conducted during the summers of 1997 and 1998. During the 1997 project, seven previously recorded rockshelters were resurveyed, two open sites (12Cr321 and 12Cr385) were tested, and one large rockshelter (12Cr59 / Indian Cave) was tested. In 1998, thirteen new rockshelters and two open sites were surveyed, six previously recorded rockshelters were resurveyed, and additional testing was conducted at 12Cr321 and 12Cr59. Although additional artifacts were only recovered from one previously recorded rockshelter, the survey and resurvey of rockshelters did result in better documentation of these sites.
In addition to the fieldwork, background research indicated that almost 800 rockshelters and caves are recorded as archaeological sites within Indiana, but fewer that 15 have been tested. The lack of excavation and analysis of rockshelters combined with the results of this project amply demonstrates the desperate need for systematic and focused research on these important sites.