The Barker Site, 46SU3, is a large Fort Ancient village that is located on the southern tip of an island in the New River ap-proximately 8 km southeast of the confluence of the New River and the Bluestone at elevation 1,408' A.M.S.L. with the major portion of the site being inundated by Bluestone Lake (Adovasio et al 1979). It is briefly exposed during winter drawdown. The site has Late Prehistoric, Late Archaic and Proto-Historic temporal components and Bluestone, Fuert, Radford, Page and Savannah River cultural components. The site has been known under several different names.
The site has produced many artifacts as well as burials. A flood in 1891 is reported to have exposed an ancient graveyard covering approximately 40 acres. The site also produced a sandstone turtle figure which is now housed at the Smithsonian Institution (Solecki 1949:377; Adovasio et al 1980). Solecki (1949) excavated a 10' x 15' test trench and recovered 131 pot sherds, along with few flint flakes and some worked bone.
The Cultural Resource Management Program of the University of Pittsburgh conducted testing at 46SU3 in 1977. The goals of the testing were to (1) gauge the effects of inundation; (2) delineate the extent of the archeological deposits; and (3) gather artifacts and data on the prehistoric inhabitants of the Bluestone Reservation for a newly constructed interpretive center. Additional controlled surface collections and test excavations were conducted in 1978 and 1979 by the Cultural Resource Management Program for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service. Many features were exposed during these excavations, including roasting, storage and trash pits, occupational floors, extensive midden areas and burials (Adovasio et al 1979; Adovasio et al 1980). The University of Pittsburgh's excavations of 1977 produced 2,072 ceramic sherds, 2 pipe bowls, 1 gaming disc and 1 scraper. Four radiocarbon dates were obtained during this work, ranging from AD 1190 +/- 45 to AD 1270 +/- 165 (Adovasio et al 1980). Artifacts recovered from burials during winter drawdown include 2 gorgets, 2 bone pins, 1 bird bone bead, 7 columnella tooth effigy pendants, 1 bird's head ef-figy pendant, 24 small tubular columnella beads, 6 cylindrical columnella beads and 3,088 Marginella shell beads (Maslowski 1985).
Feature I produced a radiocarbon date of AD 1190 +/-45. This feature was one of a series of five probable roasting pits. Fill material removed from the feature consisted of lithics, ceramics, bone, shell, fired rock, ash and charcoal. Due to percolation, no stratification was evident in the feature (Adovasio et al 1980:60).
Diagnostic artifacts recovered from the site include 2 Levanna and 1 Pee Dee projectile points, shell-tempered and New River series ceramics and a glass trade bead (USACE 1983).
This site is considered to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places but has not yet been nominated.
Approximately 0.6 ft3 of artifacts from the site are curated at the Delf Narona Museum in Moundsville.
Radiocarbon dates were calibrated using the 1993 Quaternary Isotope Lab, University of Washington, Calib version 3.0 calibration program. Samples were entered from the Data Input/Output Menu, with the lab error multiplier being "1".
|Feature||Lab No.||Uncalibrated Date||Calibrated Date|
|B1||UGA-5595||AD 1312||AD 1310, 1360|
|B2||UGA-5596||AD 1541||AD 1460|
|SI-3421||AD 1205||AD 1280|
|SI-3422||AD 1610||AD 1520|
|DIC-1555||AD 1270||AD 1300|
|FI||DIC-1556||AD 1190||AD 1280|
|F24||DIC-1652||AD 1480||AD 1440|
|F26||DIC-1653||AD 1380||AD 1400|
|F33||DIC-1654||AD 340||AD 430|
|F38||DIC-1655||AD 970||AD 1028|
This site was revisited by Cultural Resource Analyst's personnel and Bob Maslowski COE archeologist on March 17, 1998. GPS points were taken on the northern and southern extent of the artifact distribution on the eroded shoreline.. The locations of the four auger holes and one excavation unit were recorded as GPS points. In addition, a GPS point was taken at the location of the old gas pipeline with the intent that this landmark could be used to establish the locations of University of Pittsburgh excavation units on the current ground surface. Limited testing, with the use of augers and the excavation of a 1 x 1 m unit was conducted to determine the presence of intact deposits. The results of these investigations are presented below
Site 46SU3 occupies an alluvial landform located on the west side of New River that in large part is inundated by Bluestone Reservoir. A narrow forested section of the landform located above normal pool forms a small island. Over the years mechanical processes including wave action and current flow have negatively impacted cultural bearing deposits. Data obtained in 1996 by personnel from the United States Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station (WES) indicates that this part of the site has experienced a net soil/sediment loss of about 1.0 m since the impoundment of the reservoir, while the forested part of the island (i.e. highest elevations above normal pool) has received a net sediment gain of several feet (Dunn et al. 1996:67, 70). As recorded in Corps and WVSHPO files and reported in the literature (e.g., see site boundaries reported by Applegarth et al. 1978:5, Figure 4), the site has an irregular outline which excludes all the area located above normal pool.
Cultural Resource Analysts' personnel visited site 46SU3 to determine whether intact site deposits were located beneath the surface of the forested island. The exploratory investigation consisted of the excavation of three bucket auger cores and the cleaning of a small section of eroded bank. The auger was equipped with a 10 cm diameter bucket. Locations for the auger cores were randomly selected based on the distribution of cultural material exposed along the adjacent shorelines and accessibility. Cores were placed at approximate distances of 10 (C-3), 20 (C-2) and 30 (C-1) meters downstream from the island's southernmost point. Soil/sediment deposits recovered from the auger were carefully examined for cultural and natural inclusions, but were not sifted.
Data generated during the investigation indicated that the southwestern part of the island (upstream section) contained buried Fort Ancient deposits. C-2 and C-3 produced similar stratigraphic data, with approximately 0.7 to 1.1 m of post-occupational historic alluvium overlying the Fort Ancient deposits. Texture of this stratigraphic unit varied with depth and location, ranging from sand to sandy loam to very fine-grained silty-clay. Organic debris including leaf litter and partially deteriorated pieces of wood were common throughout the deposit. Directly beneath the historic alluvium a deposit of dark gray brown (10YR3/1-3/2) silty sand to sand loam containing debris associated with the Fort Ancient occupation was encountered. Shell tempered ceramics, small pieces of unburned bone, mussel shell and wood charcoal and thermally altered rock were identified. The artifact bearing deposit appeared to be at least 30 cm. However, in C-3 the thickness of the cultural bearing stratum was at least 70 cm (extending to ~1.8 mbs), suggesting that a pit feature or midden anomaly was encountered.
The excavation of C-1 produced negative results. The relatively thick deposit of historic alluvium was identified overlying coarser grained deposits lacking cultural inclusions. The excavation of this core was terminated at approximately 1.8 m below surface.
Examination of cut bank on the New River side of the island found a similar stratigraphic sequence as discussed above. A ~50-70 cm deposit of historic alluvium (root zone) was positioned directly above a darker sand loam containing a wide range of cultural debris including Fort Ancient shell tempered ceramics. At this location the artifact bearing deposit was approximately 20 cm thick.
Exploratory subsurface work conducted at 46SU3 in 1998 confirmed the presence of intact Fort Ancient deposits located approximately 1.0 m beneath the surface of the upstream part of the island. Based on the distribution of artifacts along the eroded shorelines (New River and backchannel sides of island) and data generated during augering, as much as 200-400+ m2 of intact deposits might be present.