Site Martin Farm, Bens Run
Site Number 46 TY 2
Culture: Multi Component
References:

West Virginia Encyclopedia

Bens Run Earthworks

 

The prehistoric Bens Run earthworks were located on a terrace of the Ohio River between the present communities of Bens Run and Long Reach, in Tyler County. The earliest eyewitness account of the earthworks was from the 1808 journal of Lewis Summers, who described it as "an ancient encampment" with square trenches enclosing an area of ten acres. In 1818, the journal of Thom Nuttall described the earthworks as "a small square embankment containing near an acre, with only one or two openings or entrances."

Later accounts described an oval or rectangular area of approximately 400 acres enclosed by the remnants of two parallel walls of earth and stone, six to 12 feet high and 120 feet apart, approximately four miles in length. A cross wall was reported running from one long side of the enclosure to the other, with two additional interior walls extending south from the cross wall. Two earthen mounds were reported within the enclosure, and several more mounds were located nearby.

The Archeology Section of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey officially recorded the Bens Run earthworks in 1965. By that time, all visible remnants of the earthworks were gone, probably through repeated plowing, although one of the mounds remained. Archeological surveys conducted in the 1990s found no evidence of the enclosure. While it seems likely that there were earthworks at Bens Run, the true dimensions may never be known. The discrepancies in the accounts may be the result of embellishment and secondhand reports. Data for similar enclosures recorded in West Virginia and Ohio support the earlier, more conservative descriptions.

Written by Darla S. Spencer

Citations

  1. Bailey, Douglas L. "Archaeological Localities at the Bens Run Earthworks Site." , Report. Charleston: Strategic Environmental, 1993.
  2. Fowler, Daniel B. "Ancient Ruins," West Virginia Collections Management Facility, Moundsville, 1974.
  3. Riggs, George P. & Nikola Riggs. "Shrouded in Mystery are the Great Prehistoric Ruins at Bens Run, West Virginia," West Virginia Collections Management Facility, Moundsville, 1927.

 

Site Pictures: Map
History & Reports: Martin Farm Bens Run - David Martin
Ancient Ruins at Bens Run - George Riggs
Ancient Ruins at Bens Run - WVExp.com

Artifacts from Martin Collection:

0585

notched bar of hematite 2.5" x .75" x 1.25" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by Homer Flannagen

0586

red slate gorget, two holes 2.25" x 1.25" Has been a larger piece and broken at original hole, then re-drilled to make a smaller gorget. Design on one side around holes Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by Homer Flannagen

0588

sandstone celt 3.875" x 2" restored by LAM

0589

double bitted axe 5.5" x 3.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0590

celt 3.5" x 2", peculiar grey and white mottled stone Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by LAM

0591

celt 2" x 1.125" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by LAM

0592

hematite celt 2.375" x 1.125" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run LAM surface find

0593

hematite celt 2" x 1.25" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by Jake (hired hand)

0594

hematite celt 2.25" x 1.375" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by Jake (hired hand)

0595

hematite celt 2.675" broken Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0596

stone celt 2.675" x 1.375" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0597

sandstone disc 1.25" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0598

hematite object 6 notches on one edge Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0601

hammerstone Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by Frank W Martin

0607

pitted hammerstone, flatened side has pit Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by LAM

0611

stone celt 3" bit damaged Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0612

stone celt 4" long Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0613

stone celt 3.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0614

stone hoe broken in 2 pieces Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run - One piece was found in 1939 and the second in 1940. LAM reorganizing collection realized the two pieces fit together

0621

small black stone celt 2.5" x 1" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0622

hematite celt cutting edge both ends 1.75" x 1" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0627

Stone celt 3.5" Bit damaged Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0628

stone game ball 1.875" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by LAM

0629

hematite celt 1.25" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0634

sandstone tablet 2.875" x 1.5" notched on either end Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by LAM

0640

stone celt 4" x 2.25" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0685

pitted hammerstone, one side oblong 5" x 3" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0686

pitted hammerstone, two sides 5.5" x 4.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0687

pitted Hammerstone, one side 4.5" x 3.5" flat on one side Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0688

pitted hammerstone, both sides 4" x 3.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0689

pitted hammerstone, both sides oblong 5" x 3.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0690

pitted hammerstone, pits on each side and two edges - square shaped Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0691

pitted hammerstone, one side Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0692

pitted hammerstone, both sides 4.5" x3.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0777

large leaf shaped knife translucent blue- black flint 3.875" x 2.25" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run by Mike during the early 60's

0778

Long leaf shaped knife/awl 3.375" x 1.25" grey flint Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by Madge in the garden at the back of the house

0778_br

celt 3.125" x 1.875" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run (duplicate catalog number 778)

0779

polished stone celt 4" x 2.25" Given to LAM by Sandy Shriver of Ben's Run

0780

polished flat granite celt 3.25" x 1.875" Given to LAM by Sandy Shriver of Ben's Run

0781

hematite celt 3.875" x 2.675" Given to LAM by Sandy Shriver of Ben's Run

0782

crude large point 3.75" x 1.75" Given to LAM by Sandy Shriver of Ben's Run

0783

knife 3.5" x 1.25" Given to LAM by Sandy Shriver of Ben's Run

0799

celt 1.75" x 2" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found in field behind house (kitchen garden?)

0800

flint knife 1.25" x 2.875" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found on river bank in front of house (Ohio River Lock 17)

0803

stone celt 2.125" x 1.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0804

hematite hemisphere 1.5" diameter x 1.125" high Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0807

unfinished gorget or celt 3" x 1.5" x .5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0808

unfinished celt 2.5" x 1.75" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0809

stone celt 1.5" x 1.375" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0810

hematite celt 1.75" x 1.375" broken edge Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0811

small stone pestle Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0812

hematite hemisphere oval base 1.75 - 1.5" x 1.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0813

hematite hemisphere (see 0812) not polished see 0812

0814

hematite celt 1.375" x 1.125" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0814_1

hematite celt duplicate number (see 0814)

0815

hematite celt 1.675" x 2" bit damaged Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0816

stone celt 2.5" x 1.375" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0817

hematite celt 2" x 1.375" bit damaged Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0819

hematite celt 2" x 1.375" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run (0818 was skipped as an entry)

0820

hematite celt 2" x 1.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0821

hematite celt 1.625" X 1.625" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0822

hematite object oddly shaped with intersecting grooves - awl sharpener? Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0823

celt 2" x 1.365" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0824

very small celt .75" x 1.625" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0825

celt 2.625' X 5" x 1.5" location unsure - Ben's Run?

0826

roughly shaped celt from river stone 4.5" x 2.75" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0827

start of a small grooved axe? 3.25" x 2.5" - maybe a sinker? shallow knotches Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0828

start of a grooved hammerstone? similar to item 0827 Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0829

large river stone - ends show battering Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0830

unfinished celt 3.365" x 2.25" bit not finished Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0830A

unfinshed hematite celt 2.5" x 1.75" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0831

crude stone celt - badly weathered 2.25" x 2.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0832

black flint knife 3.875" x 1.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0833

hematite plummet 1.5" groove around center Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0834

hematite hemisphere 1.365" x .875" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0835

hematite ball Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0836

stone hemisphere 1.25" x 1.365" x .75" nicely worked not polished Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0837

hematite hemisphere - oblong 1.5" x 1.125" x 1.125" broken piece off bottom Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0838

flint ball - roughly made 1.75" diameter Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0838a

broken part of a trade clay pipe. Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0839

stone celt 2.5" x 1.675" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

0846

fine leaf shaped knife 4.25" with collateral flaking Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by Madge in garden at the back of the house

9007

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface finds of points spanning 10000 years of occupation, collected over 15 years on the farm.

9010

Agate basin style knife, high quality brown flint. collateral flaking 4.256" x 1.25" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run (see LAM #0846)

9011

High quality black flint Kessel knife
(Dropped and broken by a student doing archeological drawings for a class at Marshal) Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9012

Archaic bevel, white flint Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9013

Stanly stemmed, black flint Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9014

High quality black flint snyders Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9015

High quality white flint robbins Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9016

High quality black flint rice lobed Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9017

High quality white flint racoon Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9018

High quality white flint palmer Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9019

Madison, black flint Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9020

High quality black flint lowe flared Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9021

Lecroy Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Two lecroy samples from Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9022

white flint kramer Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9023

High Quality black flint, raddatz Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9024

Fish spear Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9025

High quality black flint cresap Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9026

High quality white flint chesser notched Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9027

White flint brewerton eared Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9028

Multiple flint and style "Bird Points" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9030

multicolored uniface knife 2.625" x 1.5" Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run Found by DHM early 1960's

9031

flint flakes, bladlets and cores (mostly Flint Ridge) Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run (those circled in red are not from Ben's Run - see 0288 and 0291)

9058

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9059

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9060

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9061

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9062

Various points and blades from Martin Farm... all small points that LAM referred to as "bird points" which were actually arrow points or small scrapers. All were between 1 inch and 3/8 inch and exhibit various base treatments. Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9063

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9064

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9065

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9066

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9067

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9068

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9069

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9070

Various points and blades from Martin Farm. Primarily drills Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family

9078

Broken gorget/pendant 2.625", engraved with cross hatched lines on one side and broken at drill hole Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run

9087

Various points and blades from Martin Farm Surface find Martin Farm, Ben's Run over 10 years by family