The Rescue Excavations
With a sense of urgency we sought funds for a rescue excavation project. Thanks to an innovative Indiana agency and grant program - the Wabash River Heritage Commission - the Bone Bank rescue project in 2000-2003 became the first state-funded effort to mitigate erosional impacts at an archaeological site. The project was carried out by Indiana University, with administration provided by a regional not-for-profit organization, the Four Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc., Indiana University, private individuals, trusts, and local organizations provided the matching contributions. Four universities and the Indiana Geological Survey loaned equipment. Volunteer field workers included students, faculty, and avocational archaeologists.
Excavations in 2000 and 2001 necessarily took place in the fall during low river levels, and investigated cultural deposits in three areas.
||removing historic alluvium above the Caborn-Welborn midden|
|North Block excavation samples from the buried midden in the swale|
|waterscreening and flotation|
Although the swale midden contained the deepest stratified deposits, the hope of finding both early and late Mississippian materials was not met. However, several characteristics of the recovered late Mississippian assemblages show consistent temporal trends.
|excavation of midden deposits|
|II. South Block 1, Terrace|
The goal of the rescue effort on the terrace was to excavate any intact features remaining in this deflated area of "high ground."
|South Block 1 search for features|
|basal portion of cylindrical storage pit|
|III. South Block 2, Lakeshore|
To estimate the distribution of sealed archaeological deposits back from the riverbank, solid earth cores were drilled in 42 locations.
|Indiana Geological Survey drill rig|
|sorting materials from one 20cm level|
|(Click for full-sized version)||South Block 2 in progress|
No additional features were found in the lakeshore locale beyond those identified during testing. The pits in this area are limited to shallow basins interpreted as baking facilities.
The lowest Mississippian deposits in the lakeshore midden contain Caborn-Welborn materials mixed with small numbers of Woodland and Archaic artifacts. These deposits represent the paleosurface that was subsequently covered by additional Caborn-Welborn artifacts and silts.
As in the previous year at the North Block, excavation at the lakeshore midden concluded when flooding threatened to inundate the work area.
|Summary of Rescue Excavations|
The results are quantitatively impressive:
|Bone Bank under flood waters||beans from Pit Feature 9 (Phaseolus vulgaris)|
|catloging and analysis||(Click for full-sized version)|
Table of Contents