By: Andrew Smith and Rachel Klabacka
Reports of Investigation 76, Archaeological Resources Management Service, Ball State University
PDF of Report Volume 1, Redacted Version
The Archaeological Resource Management Service (ARMS) at Ball State Univesity conducted a data enhancement project for threatened archaeological resources in the Little Rover and Wabash River valley in Miami, Wabash and Huntington Counties, Indiana, for for a FY2008 Historic Preservation Fund Grant (Grant #21719-13). This Historic Preservation Fund grant project investigated the archaeological resources of the Little Rover and Wabash River valleys in Huntington, Miami, and Wabash counties, Indiana. Approximately 791 acres (320 hectares) of agricultural land were surveyed and 467 new archaeological sites were recorded. The survey recovered 10,237 prehistoric artifacts and 556 historic artifacts from fourteen locations within the Little River and Wabash River valleys. All periods including Pale-Indian, Early Archaic, Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, Early Woodland, Middle Woodland, and Late Woodland/ Prehistoric components were document form the precontact era. The average site density recorded for the project area for precontact sites was one site per 1.7 acres. The highest artifact densities were encountered in survey areas with expansive sections of Genesee (Gessie) soils. The soil is a well drained alluvial soil. The project suggests that precontact populations used the Wabash River valley and its tributary valleys for long term settlement as well as short term extractive camps. Site duration was most intensive at areas where chert and food resources would have been concentrated.
In addition to the pedestrian survey limited excavations were conducted for three mounds: Big Bangs (12HU25), Little Bangs Mounds (12HU26) and an unnamed mound (12HU27)
The limited excavations documented that Big Bangs (12HU25) and Little Bangs (12HU26) contained intact deposits. The recovery of a Triangular Cluster biface and radiocarbon date between cal AD420 and 600 indicated a late Middle Woodland to early Late Woodland time period for the construction of the mounds. While the temporal affiliation of the mounds was better defined by the project, the cultural affiliation of the mounds was still ambiguous. From a regional perspective, no identified cultural groups have been named for this period in the Upper Wabash drainage. The two mounds are the only known surviving examples of mounds in the Upper Wabash drainage. The mounds provide a unique opportunity to furhter explore the settlement system of Middle Woodland/ Late Woodland populations and offered a rare opportunity to examine the ceremonial and ritual aspects of the inhabitants of the area. The mounds were determined eligable for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.