By: Matthew R. Swihart and Kevin C. Nolan
Edited by Kevin C. Nolan
Principal Investigators: Kevin C. Nolan, Robert A. Cook, and S. Homes Hogue
Reports of Investigation 83, Applied Anthropology Laboratories, Ball State University

PDF of Report, Redacted Version


The Applied Anthropology Laboratories (AAL) of Ball State University conducted an archaeological reconnaissance and reinvestigation project for archaeological materials in Dearborn County, Indiana, for an FY2013 Historic Preservation Fund Grant (Grant 13FFY03). The focus of this Historic Preservation Fund Grant project was three-fold. First, this research targeted Dearborn County, Indiana, specifically focusing on Late Prehistoric period (cf. Fort Ancient) settlement and community organization patterns. AAL targeted previously identified Late Woodland and Late Prehistoric archaeological sites for pedestrian survey, soil phosphate, and geophysical investigations. Second, AAL attempted to identify new archaeological sites through pedestrian survey of agricultural fields in the county. Third, AAL attempted to reinvestigate five archaeological sites (12D200 and 12D272 in York Township and 12D202, 12D203, and 12D205 in Sparta Township) for the purpose of data correction and enhancement.

Approximately 345.67 acres (139.89 ha) of agricultural land underwent pedestrian survey, encountering 50 archaeological sites (5 reinvestigated sites, and 45 newly defined sites) and 12,363 artifacts. Sites 12D45, 12D396, and 12D480 were subjected to soils (chemical and geophysical) analysis (24.5 acres, 9.91 ha) revealing new details of community organization. The project recovered 12,297 prehistoric artifacts and 66 historic artifacts from the ten survey areas that underwent pedestrian survey. Multiple cultural periods are represented in the artifact assemblage recovered from pedestrian surveys, including diagnostics of the Middle Archaic, Middle Woodland, Late Woodland, and Late Prehistoric. Multiple cultural periods are represented in landowner collections obtained for this project as well. These include the Early Archaic, Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, Terminal Archaic, Early Woodland, Middle Woodland, Late Woodland, and Late Prehistoric. Artifact assemblages from pedestrian survey and landowner collections both contain historic artifacts. Overall, the average site density recorded for the project is one archaeological site per 7.18 acres (0.14 sites/acre). Excluding SA2, this overall site density becomes one archaeological site per 8.60 acres. Density for survey areas within the Uplands is one archaeological site per 31.54 acres. Density for survey areas within the lowlands is one archaeological site per 1.84 acres. The average artifact density for this project is one artifact per 0.03 acres (34.42 artifacts/acre). When excluding SA2, this average artifact density is one artifact per 1.33 acres (0.75 artifacts/acre).

Of all the sites from this project, a total of nine are recommended as potentially eligible for Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures (IRHSS) and the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).