By: Beth K. McCord
Reports of Investigation 75, Archaeological Resources Management Service, Ball State University
The Archaeological Resource Management Service (ARMS) at Ball State University conducted a FY2008 Historic Preservation Fund Grant to investigate and nominate two prehistoric habitation sites in the Upper White River drainage to the National Register of Historic Places. The two sites, Hobbs' Knob (12M266) and Taylor Ten (12H987), have provided important information on prehistoric settlement in the Upper White River drainage, however information on the integrity of deposits was lacking. The project was designed to recover the additional information necessary to complete National Register nominations for these two important sites.
The Hobbs' Knob site was occupied repeatedly over the last 9,000 years. It's proximity to both upland and floodplain resources, chert resources and the commanding view of the river valley made this location very advantageous to pre-contact occupation. The density of material recovered from the surface an plowzone is one of the highest recorded for the upper White River drainage. The site was most intensively occupied during the Late Woodland/ Late Prehistoric period and was likely reoccupied by small groups of Oliver Phase populations on a seasonal basis, however the project encountered no intact sub-plowzone deposits within the area investigated. The lack of integrity prevents the nomination of the Hobbs' Knob site to the National Register of Historic Places at this time.
The investigation of Taylor Ten confirmed the presence of a significant Late Woodland/ Late Prehistoric habitation. Five cultural features were documented by the project and over 3800 lithic and ceramic artifacts and over 3500 fragments of animal bone were recovered. Most of the material recovered is associated with the Castor Phase dating between AD 1000 and 1400. A few Albee Phase and Oliver Phase pottery sherds were also recovered documenting a multicomponent use of the site. The gradiometer data suggested that additional features are present at the site. The site contains significant information to help refine the Castor Phase and data to help explore the relationship of contemporary late Woodland/ Late Prehistoric populations. The site was determined to be eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.