Center For Transportation Research


Hancock County

40HK6

Site 40HK6 is located on a Pleistocene terrace above Big War Creek in Hancock County, Tennessee (Figure 2). Archaeologists from the Transportation Center at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville conducted Phase II testing and additional Phase II testing at site 40HK6 between November 22, 1995 and May 10, 1996.

The portion of the site within the proposed right-of-way measured approximately 70 m N-S by 28-31 m E-W. This area was plowed and disked (Figures 21 and 22). A controlled surface collection was conducted. The controlled surface collection yielded 13 tools and 789 pieces of lithic debitage. Two test units were then excavated on the site. Test Units 1 and 2 revealed a 12-20 cm thick plowzone. In Test Unit 1, the plowzone was overlying Pleistocene subsoil and a portion of a pit feature (Feature 13) was exposed in the northeast quadrant of the unit (Figure 23). In Test Unit 2, the plowzone was overlying a 30-37 cm thick A horizon/midden (Feature 6). The Pleistocene subsoil occurred at 49-57 cm below ground surface in Test Unit 2. Two 2 m wide power unit transects were excavated 10 m apart with a backhoe N-S across the site (Figure 24). Eight potential subsurface features, four possible postholes, and a subplowzone soil horizon containing cultural material were located during the Phase II testing. Two pit features were excavated. Each of these features contained prehistoric pottery. One of these (Feature 7) contained 98 pottery sherds. Based on these findings, additional Phase II testing was recommended.

Figure 21. Sites 40HK6 and 40HK9.
Figure 22. Plowed and disked area on site 40HK6.
Figure 23. North profile of Test Unit 1 on site 40HK6.
Figure 24. Power units and test units on site 40HK6.

During the additional Phase II testing, a block area was excavated to expose the area of the site in the proposed right-of-way that contained subsurface features and postholes. The block area revealed 10 additional potential subsurface pit features and 7 additional potential postholes. The 11 potential postholes found during the testing and additional testing were bisected and 7 were found to be tree disturbances.

FEATURES

Twelve pit features, one unprepared hearth, one A horizon/midden, and four postholes probably indicating a single structure were excavated on site 40HK6 (Figure 25). Six of the excavated and numbered features (Features 3, 8, 11, 16, 18, and 19) were found to be tree disturbances. Figure 25. Feature distribution on site 40HK6.

Size Classification and Function

The pits on site 40HK6 were separated into size classes employing the Bailey site method (Bentz 1988:20-49) of plotting the excavated volume and surface area of each feature on a graph (Tables 12 and 13 and Figure 26). The Bailey site method was also used on the Late Archaic site 40HK5 and previously on the Middle Woodland Aenon Creek site (40MU493) in Middle Tennessee (Bentz 1989a:28-45).

Figure 26. Pit feature volume:surface area on site 40HK6.

Large Deep (Class 1) Pits

The only large deep pit (Class 1) is Feature 12. This feature is generally cylindrical in shape and had functioned as a storage facility (Figures 27 and 28). Feature 12 was a large circular pit feature with vertical to insloping sides and a flat bottom. It measured 152 cm E-W by 148 cm N-S in plan view and 82 cm in depth. It contained PPKs, bifaces, firecracked rock, and pottery sherds. One pottery sherd was from the rim of a vessel. Pottery recovered from this feature comprises over one-half (51.3%) by weight of the ceramics found on the site. Over one metric ton of burned or firecracked rock was removed from this feature. Feature 12 yielded a radiocarbon age of 1930 +/-40 years B.P. (Beta-099883). Three zones were excavated separately.

Figure 27. Storage pits on site 40HK6.
Figure 28. Profiles of large deep (Class 1) and medium (Class 2) pits on site 40HK6.

Feature 12 was located 2.5 m southeast of Feature 10 west of Feature 13, and 2.0 m north of Feature 20.

Medium (Class 2) Pits

Medium (Class 2) pits on site 40HK6 were Features 1, 4, 5, 7, and 10. These features were often cylindrical in shape and had functioned as storage facilities. The pits were circular in plan view and generally had vertical, insloping, or inslanting sides with a flat or round bottom in profile or were less often basin-shaped in profile (n=5) (Figures 27 and 28). Mean dimensions of the Class 2 pits are 103 cm x 97 cm in plan view and 47 cm in depth. One of the medium pits contained multiple fill zones.

Feature 1 was a large circular pit with inslanting sides and a round bottom. It measured 100 cm E-W by 97 cm N-S in plan view and 33 cm in depth. It contained one PPK. The fill was a 7.5YR4/2 dark brown silt loam. Feature 1 was located 4.0 m northeast of Feature 13.

Feature 4 was a large circular conical shaped pit with inslanting sides and a flat bottom. It measured 115 cm E-W by 106 cm N-S in plan view and 82 cm in depth. The south half of Feature 4 was excavated as one zone. After careful examination of the profile wall, three soil zones were identified. In the north half, these zones were excavated separately.

Feature 4 was located 1.0 m northeast of Feature 15.

Feature 5 was a circular pit with insloping sides and a round bottom. It measured 98 cm N_S by 90 cm E-W in plan view and 42 cm in depth. The fill was a 10YR3/4 dark yellowish brown silt loam. Feature 5 was located 6.0 m west of Feature 15.

Feature 7 was a large circular basin shaped pit. It measured 110 cm N-S by 110 cm E-W in plan view. It contained 92 pottery sherds and nearly all of the maygrass and cucurbita rind fragments recovered and 29 cm in depth. Pottery recovered from this feature comprises over one third (37.7%) by weight of the ceramics found on the site. The fill was a 10YR3/2 very dark grayish-brown silt loam. Feature 7 yielded a radiocarbon age of 2060 +/- 40 years B.P. (Beta-099882). Feature 7 was located 4.1 m west of Feature 14 and 5.5 m south of Feature 9.

Feature 10 was a circular pit with vertical to inslanting sides and a round bottom. It measured 90 cm E-W by 81 cm N-S in plan view and 48 cm in depth. The fill was a 10YR3/4 dark yellowish brown silt loam. Feature 10 was located 2.5 m northwest of Feature 12.

Shallow (Class 3) Pits

Shallow (Class 3) pits on site 40HK6 were Features 13, 14, 15, 17, and 20. These features were circular or oval in plan view and basin shaped in profile (n=6) (Figures 29 and 30). Burned or firecracked rock and charcoal in some of these pits may indicate a function as hearths. The mean dimensions of the Class 3 pits are 80 cm by 65 cm in plan view and 15 cm in depth. One of the shallow pits contained multiple fill zones.

Figure 29. Shallow (Class 3) pits on site 40HK6.
Figure 30. Profiles of shallow (Class 3) pits on site 40HK6.

Feature 2 was an oval basin shaped pit. It measured 56 cm N-S by 36 cm E-W in plan view and 13 cm in depth. The fill was a 7.5YR4/3 brown silt loam. Feature 2 was located 6.0 m northeast of Feature 14.

Feature 13 was a large circular basin shaped pit. It measured 112 cm E-W by 110 cm N-S in plan view and 22 cm in depth. It contained burned or firecracked rock. The fill was a 10YR3/4 dark yellowish brown silt loam. Feature 13 was located 3.0 m east of Feature 12.

Feature 14 was circular basin shaped pit. It measured 60 cm E-W by 52 cm N-S in plan view and 13 cm in depth. It contained a large amount of burned or firecracked rock.. The fill was a 10YR3/2 very dark grayish brown silt loam. Feature 14 was located 4.1 m east of Feature 7 and 6.0 m southwest of Feature 2.

Feature 15 was a large circular basin shaped pit. It measured 118 cm by 98 cm in plan view and 17 cm in depth. It contained a large amount of burned or firecracked rock. The feature was excavated in two zones.

Feature 15 was located 1.0 m southwest of Feature 4.

Feature 17 was a circular basin shaped pit. It measured 57 cm E-W by 47 cm N-S in plan view and 12 cm in depth. It contained a large amount of burned or firecracked rock. The fill was a 2.5YR3/2 dusky red silt loam. Feature 17 was 5.0 m northwest of Feature 1.

Feature 20 was an oval lobed basin shaped pit(s) that appears to be two superimposed features. It measured 76 cm N-S by 48 cm E-W in plan view and 17 cm in depth. It contained two PPKs. The fill was a 10YR4/4 dark yellowish brown silt loam. Feature 20 was located 1.7 m east of Feature 9 and 2.1 m south of Feature 12.

Structure

Structure 1 consisted of an unprepared hearth (Feature 9) surrounded by a trapezoidal arrangement of four postholes (Postholes 1-4) (Figures 31 and 32). The hearth consisted of a circular area of burned subsoil (5YR4/8 yellowish red silty clay) that measured 22 cm E-W by 18 cm N-S. The subsoil was burned to depth of 3 cm. Feature 9 is situated approximately 20 cm to the southwest of the center of the posthole pattern. The postholes measured 12-21 cm in diameter and 25-35 cm in depth and were spaced 0.7-1.5 m apart forming a trapezoidal floor area of 1.4 m.. Structure 1 was located 1.2 m west of Feature 20. It may have served as a small shelter or windbreak with an internal hearth or simply four posts supported a rack for food processing over an open fire.

Figure 31. Structure 1 on site 40HK6.
Figure 32. Structure 1 postholes on site 40HK6.

A Horizon/Midden

Feature 6 was an area of intact A horizon containing prehistoric cultural material (Figures 33 and 34). Six 1 m x 1 m units were excavated in this deposit. The A horizon/midden measured 15.6 m + E-W by 14.0 m N-S. The A1 and A2 horizons consisted of 7.5YR3/3 dark brown and 7.5YR4/3 brown loams that were 22-35 cm thick and were overlain by a 30 cm thick plowzone (Ap horizon). The A horizons were underlain by a 12 cm thick transitional BA horizon that consisted of 5YR4/6 yellowish red and 7.5YR3/3 dark brown clay loams. Diagnostic PPKs recovered from the surface and a 1 m x 1 m unit in Feature 6 indicate this deposit was forming during Late Archaic through Middle Woodland times.

Figure 33. Feature 6 1 m x 1 m units on site 40HK6.
Figure 34. West profile wall of Feature 6 on site 40HK6.

Feature Distribution Pit features at the southern section of the site investigation area (Features 4, 5, and 15) were separated from those at the northern section of the site by a minimum horizontal distance of 25 m and a vertical distance of 2.5-4.0 m (Figure 35). The A horizon/midden (Feature 6) was situated adjacent to the features in the southern section. The only large deep (Class 1) pit on the site (Feature 12) occurred in the northern section of the site while medium (Class 2) and shallow (Class 3) pits were found in both sections. Shallow (Class 3) pits that may have served as hearths were Features 14, 15, and 17. Two storage pits (Features 7 and 12) may have been reused and served a secondary function as hearths or earth ovens as indicated by the relatively large amounts of burned or firecracked rock in the fills of these features. A single shallow (Class 3) hearth (Feature 15) was in the southern section of the site. Figure 35. Pit classes on site 40HK6.

CERAMICS

A total of 214 sherds (486.3 g) was recovered from 6 pit features, 2 test units, and 1 tree disturbance. Most (89.0%) of the ceramics by weight was contained in Features 7 and 12 (Table 14). Of the total ceramic assemblage, 72.1% is limestone tempered and 27.9% consists of sand and quartz, quartz and chert, and temperless types.

Table 14. Ceramics from Site 40HK6.

Limestone Tempered Ceramics

The limestone tempered ceramics usually contain a uniform distribution of holes resulting from the leaching of this carbonate form of tempering. The holes generally measure 1-3 mm in diameter. The temper particles are not present in any of the sherds. Ten sherds contained moderate to heavy amounts of flake mica and one of these sherds also contained fine sand. The sherd thickness generally ranges from 4-8 mm. The interior sherd surfaces are very pale brown, dark red, red, and/or reddish yellow in color.

Nearly three-fourths (72.1%) of the pottery found at the site is limestone. These sherds were further divided on the basis of surface treatment (Table 14). Limestone tempered ceramic types represented are:

Ceramic Type n Weight (g)
Wright Check Stamped 26 154.7
Mulberry Creek Plain 9 53.4
Indeterminate 37 100.5
<1.27 cm 42.0
total Nearly three-fourths (73.4%) of the limestone tempered pottery with identifiable surface treatments has checked stamped exteriors (Wright Checked Stamped) (Figure 36A). One-fourth (25.7%) of the limestone tempered sherds have plain surfaces. Two sherds with indeterminate exterior surfaces have a brown slip on the interior surfaces. Two rim sherds were recovered. One is from a check stamped jar with an inslanting neck and a rounded lip (Figure 36B) and the second appears to be from a plain bowl with a flattened lip (Figure 36C). Vessel podal supports were recovered from Features 7 and 12. Figure 36. Limestone tempered ceramics from site 40HK6.

Sand and Quartz Tempered Ceramics

The sand and quartz tempered ceramics contain moderate to heavy amounts of angular to slightly rounded sand particles that measure up to 1.0 mm in diameter and occasional large angular pieces of quartz that measure up to 4.0 mm across. These sherds also contain flake mica. The sherd thickness generally ranges from 3-5 mm. The sherd surfaces are light brown, brown, and reddish yellow in color.

A small amount (5.5%) of pottery found at the site is tempered with sand and quartz. These sherds were further divided on the basis of surface treatment (Table 14). Sand and quartz tempered ceramic types represented are:

Ceramic Type n Weight (g)
Pigeon Check Stamped 1 4.6
Pigeon Plain 2 6.6
Indeterminate 4 10.2
<1.27 cm 5 5.4
total 13 26.8

165 350.6
Only three of the sand and quartz tempered sherds have identifiable surface treatments. Two plain rim sherds recovered from Feature 7 are probably from the same jar. The rims are plain (Pigeon Plain) and have incurving necks and slightly flattened lips. A single eroded check stamped sherd (Pigeon Creek Stamped) was also found in Feature 7.

Quartz and Chert Tempered Ceramics

The quartz and chert tempered ceramics contain angular pieces of quartz and/or chert that measure up to 6.0 mm across and light to moderate amounts of sand. Most of these sherds also contain flake mica. The sherd thicknesses generally range from 7.5-9.0 mm. The sherd surfaces are brown and/or strong brown in color.

Less than one-fourth (21.6%) of the pottery found at the site is quartz and chert tempered. These sherds were further divided on the basis of surface treatment (Table 14). Quartz and chert tempered ceramic types represented are:

Ceramic Type n Weight (g)
Watts Bar Fabric Impressed 10 56.2
Indeterminate 11 39.4
<1.27 cm 14 9.4
total 35 105.0
Ten quartz and chert tempered sherds have an identifiable surface treatment. These sherds are fabric impressed (Table 14 and Figure 37). Quartz and chert tempered sherds were recovered from four pit features (Features 1, 5, 7, and 12) and a tree disturbance (Feature 19). Features 7 and 12 contained limestone tempered, sand and quartz tempered, and quartz and chert tempered ceramics. Figure 37. Quartz and chert tempered fabric impressed ceramics from site 40HK6.

Untempered Ceramics

A single untempered sherd was recovered from Feature 12. The paste is soft and friable and the sherd surfaces are reddish-yellow in color. The sherd thickness ranges 7-10 mm. The sherd is probably from a thick plain hand molded miniature vessel. It appears to have been a tetrapodal vessel since the sherd has one apparent pode.

Ceramic Chronology and Distribution

Prehistoric ceramics from sites 40HK6 were separated into four distinct groups based on temper materials; limestone, sand and quartz, quartz and chert, and untempered. Middle Woodland ceramic types in the limestone tempered group predominate in the assemblage while only minor amounts of early Middle Woodland ceramic types in the sand and quartz tempered group occur. Limestone tempered wares consisting of Wright Check Stamped and Mulberry Creek Plain are typical of the eastern Tennessee River Valley and sand and quartz tempered wares consisting of Pigeon Check Stamped and Pigeon Plain are typical of the Appalachian Summit but also often occur in relatively low amounts on early Middle Woodland sites in the Tennessee Valley along with limestone tempered wares. Nearly one-fourth of the pottery from site 40HK6 is quartz and chert tempered Early Woodland Watts Bar Fabric Impressed. The occurrence of this pottery type on the site in features containing Middle Woodland ceramics may indicate the presence of an Early Woodland component on the site. Fabric impressed ceramics are represented on early Middle Woodland sites in Middle Tennessee (Bentz 1989b:143). Fabric impressed ceramics from site 40HK6 may represent a previously unidentified type of the Pigeon series and are not Watts Bar Fabric Impressed. A thick untempered sherd in the assemblage indicates miniature hand molded vessels were also included in this Middle Woodland ceramic complex.

LITHICS

A total of 4,111 pieces (5,996.58 g) of lithic debitage from 12 features was analyzed (Tables 15 and 16). These consist of 480 complete flake, 1,378 pieces of blocky debris, 2,226 flake fragments, and 27 cores (Tables 15 and 16). Forty-five projectile points/knives recovered from controlled and general surface collections, surface piece plots, test units, and features were also analyzed. Fifteen bifaces and biface fragments, one drill, three retouched flakes, and two utilized flakes were recovered from controlled and general surface collections, a test unit, and a feature. A total of 532.2 kg of burned or firecracked rock was recovered from feature context.

Table 15. Debitage from Features on Site 40HK6.
Table 16. Debitage by Size Grade from Feature on Site 40HK6.

Debitage

Knox chert was the predominate raw material used for stone tool manufacture and is represented by 4,083 (99.3%) of the debitage (Table 17) from features. Minor amounts of jasper (n=1), Knox Oolitic chert (n=3), Knox Porcelaneous chert (n=10), and white-veined quartz (n=7) were also identified. One piece of debitage could not be assigned to a raw material type.

Table 17. Debitage Raw Material Counts from Features by Size Grade on Site 40HK6

Only a small amount of the debitage from features exhibits thermal alteration. A total of 368 pieces (9.0%) of the debitage was thermally altered (Table 18).

Table 18. Thermal Alteration of Debitage Counts from Features by Raw Material Type on Site 40HK6.

Cortex was observed on 289 (49.5%) of the complete flakes and cores (Table 19). Of this total, 190 (65.7%) of the exhibit less than 25% dorsal cortex cover and 9 (34.3%) of the complete flakes and cores exhibit greater than 25% dorsal cortex. Over three-fourths of the cortex was identified as matrix residual (n=103, 35.6%) and incipient fracture plane (n=129, 44.6%). Only 57 pieces (19.7%) of the debitage exhibit waterworn cobble cortex.

Table 19. Cortex Cover on Debitage from Features by Raw Material Type on Site 40HK6.

Knox chert was utilized for the manufacture of most of the stone tools on the site. Little of this chert was thermally altered. The matrix and incipient fracture planes on debitage indicate that most of the raw material was derived from geological source areas and not as stream bed cobbles. Over one-third (34.2%) of the debitage from the features was comprised of cores and blocky debris suggesting that lithic reduction was a relatively important activity at the site. The predominance (93.6%) of small items (#12.7 mm, size grades 2 and 3) in the debitage is probably indicative of the small size of Knox chert nodules. Only 195 (4.7%) of the small flakes have two or more platform facets and/or three or more negative flake scars, indicating that late stage reduction and tool manufacturing/maintenance were not major activities at the site.

Projectile points/knives

A total of 45 diagnostic projectile points/knives recovered from site 40HK6 can be affiliated with eleven different diagnostic clusters. Early Archaic through Middle Woodland projectile points/knives are represented in the assemblage. These PPKs were recovered from feature, general surface collection, controlled surface collection, piece plot, and test unit contexts.

Kirk Corner Notched/Serrated cluster

Two Kirk Corner Notched projectile point/knives were recovered during the controlled surface collection, one was recovered from block area piece plots, and one was recovered from Feature 12. Basal edges include three excurvate and one incurvate with grinding noted on three bases. Shoulders are barbed and project downward on three specimens and are reworked to a rounded form on one specimen. Cross sections are biconvex to flattened. One projectile point was reworked into an end scraper. These points were manufactured from Knox chert.

Rice Lobed cluster

One St. Albans PPK was recovered during the general surface collection and one was recovered from Feature 12. Basal edges are bifurcated with rounded expanding and auriculated ears. Shoulders are tapered to rounded. Cross sections are biconvex and planoconvex. One specimen was reworked into an end scraper. These points were manufactured from chalcedony and an unidentifiable heat treated material.

Kirk Stemmed/Serrated cluster

One Kirk Stemmed/Serrated PPK was recovered from Feature 12. It exhibits a concave and ground basal area with a slightly expanding stem, barbed shoulders, serrated blade margins, and a biconvex cross section. This point was manufactured from Knox chert.

Morrow Mountain Cluster

This cluster consists of a small point with a broad triangular blade and a short contracting stem. Coe (1959) has suggested a date of around 4,500 B.C. for the Morrow Mountain. Chapman (1977) has the earliest date of around 5,000 BC.

One Morrow Mountain PPK was recovered during the general surface collection, one was recovered as a piece plot, and three were recovered from Feature 12. Three PPKs exhibit short contracting stems with light basal grinding and short blades with straight to excurvate blade margins. Two specimens are ovoid in shape with unfinished fracture planes on the base. Shoulders exhibit slight expansion and the cross sections appear biconvex. Distal ends were acute to acuminate. These points were manufactured from Knox chert.

Stanly cluster

One Stanly PPK was recovered during the general surface collection, one was recovered during the controlled surface collection, and one was recovered from Feature 12. Two specimens exhibit squared stems and one has a slightly expanded stem with basal notches and grinding. Blades are large and triangular with rounded to slightly tapered shoulders. The cross sections on two are biconvex while the third PPK exhibits a ventral scar which suggests that a large flake was utilized in the manufacture of this PPK. It is of interest to note that a similar Stanly PPK was recovered from 40HK5. These points were manufactured from Knox chert.

Lamoka cluster

Three Lamoka cluster PPKs with expanded stems were recovered during the general surface collection (Figure 38 A, B, and C). All three specimens exhibit straight to rounded basal areas with expanded stems and shallow side notching. Shoulders are rounded with blade margins ranging from incurvate to excurvate. Distal ends are acute and the greatest thickness is at the stem and blade juncture. Cross sections are triangular. These PPKs were manufactured from Knox chert.

Figure 38. Projectile points/knives from site 40HK6.

Five Lamoka cluster PPKs with straight stems were recovered from the site, three during the general surface collection and two during the controlled surface collection (Figure 38 D, E, and F). All five PPKs have rounded to straight basal margins with some cortex and unfinished areas on the base. Shoulders are rounded to almost nonexistent and cross sections are diamond shaped with the thickest portion occurring at the stem and blade juncture. Blade margins are excurvate on three PPKs, serrated on one, and one specimen exhibits an asymmetrical blade configuration. Distal portions are acute on complete forms. Four of these PPKs were manufactured from Knox chert and one was manufactured from chalcedony.

Savannah River/Appalachian Stemmed cluster

One Savannah River/Appalachian River Stemmed cluster PPK was recovered from Feature 12. It has a straight basal area with incurvate stem sides. Shoulders are rounded with cortex on one side and tapered with a slight expansion on the other. The distal end is acute and the cross section is plano convex. This point was manufactured from quartzite.

Iddins/Otarre cluster

Two Iddins PPKs were recovered during the general surface collection, four were recovered during the controlled surface collection, two were piece plots, one was recovered from a test unit, and four were recovered from feature context. Features 1,2, 12, and 20 contained Iddins/Otarre cluster PPKs. Five Iddins were of the Undifferentiated Narrow Stem type while eight of these PPKs were of the Undifferentiated Stemmed type.

Specimens recovered have straight, incurvate, and excurvate basal areas with grinding, cortex, and fracture planes present to differing degrees on a high percentage of the specimens analyzed Stem edges are straight, excurvate, and expanded to a slight degree. Shoulders are characteristically rounded but a few examples are tapered, horizontal, and inversely tapered. Cross sections are generally biconvex. One specimen was reworked into a hafted end scraper. Distal ends present are of the acute and acuminate form. These points were manufactured from Knox chert with the exception of one PPK which is an unidentified heat treated material.

Upper Valley Side Notched cluster

Upper Valley Side Notched cluster PPKs include the Upper Valley Side Notched type which is a small to medium size side notched point that resembles the Kirk Corner Notched PPK morphologically. The primary difference is the lack of heavy basal grinding, deep corner notching, and serration commonly found on the Kirk forms in East Tennessee. This cluster was vaguely mentioned in Kneberg's (1956:27) treatise on Upper East Tennessee PPKs. Lafferty (1981) lists this type as an Early Woodland PPK at the Phipps Bend site.

One Upper Valley Side Notched PPK was recovered during the controlled surface collection, one as a piece plot, one was recovered from a test unit, and one from Feature 20. Three specimens exhibit excurvate to straight bases while one has a slightly notched base. Side notching is slight to extreme and shoulders are characteristically rounded except for one barbed shoulder. Blade margins are straight, incurvate, and excurvate to a slight degree. Three of these PPKs were manufactured from chalcedony and one was manufactured from an unidentified thermally altered material.

Small Stem cluster

This cluster includes the Ebenezer Tapered Stem type which has a small short rounded stem and excurvate blade margins (Cambron and Hulse 1975). Lewis and Kneberg (1957) suggested a date of 2,050 BP + 250 years for a similar point at the Camp Creek site.

The one specimen recovered was from Feature 12 and exhibits a rounded stem with narrow and tapered shoulders, incurvate and excurvate blade margins, and a biconvex cross section. The material type appears to be a thermally altered Knox Group chert.

Greeneville/McFarland cluster

This cluster includes the Greeneville, Nolichucky, and Camp Creek types in East Tennessee and McFarland in Middle Tennessee (Figure 38 G and H). These types are small to medium triangular PPKs. Faulkner and McCollough (1974) place these PPKs in the Early to Middle Woodland with a probable date range around 200 B.C. - A.D 350.

Two Greeneville specimens were recovered in feature context (Features 6 and 12). Both examples exhibit straight bases with excurvate blade margins and biconvex cross sections. One of these PPKs was manufactured from chalcedony and one was manufactured from Knox chert.

One Nolichucky specimen recovered from general surface collection exhibits a concave base, incurvate hafting area, and excurvate blade margins. It was manufactured from Knox chert.

Other Tools

Two bifaces and biface fragments were recovered during the controlled surface collection and seven were recovered during the general surface collection. A single biface was found during the excavation of a test unit. A drill was recovered during the general surface collection. Feature 12 contained five bifaces and biface fragments, three retouched flakes, and two utilized flakes.

Burned or Firecracked Rock

A total of 532.2 kg of burned or firecracked rock was recovered from feature context. Feature 12 contained 451.5 kg (84.8%) of the burned or firecracked rock and Feature 7 contained 47.5 kg (8.9%) of the burned or firecracked rock.

Limonite

One piece of limonite weighing 13.5 g was recovered from Feature 4.

PALEOENTHOBOTANY

Fourteen samples representing 140 liters of fill from two features at 40HK6 were sorted and analyzed. Flotation samples from the two analyzed features at 40HK6 yielded 110.38 g of carbonized plant material (Tables 20 and 21). Potential food plant remains were represented by three genera of arboreal fruits, one species of starchy seed-producing annual, and one oily-seeded fleshy fruit (Cucurbita) (Tables 20 and 21). There was also one herbaceous seed-producing plant represented that is more of a habitat indicator than food indicator (bedstraw - Galium cf. aparine). The sample from Feature 7, a large circular basin-shaped pit, represented 21.4% of site sample flotation volume and 14.8% of total recovered charcoals by weight. The Feature 7 sample, however, did yield a substantially greater proportion of potential food remains as compared to Feature 12. Feature 7 contained 55.6% of the hickory shell fragments, 75% of the black walnut fragments, and 100% of the hazelnut fragments (though only four hazelnut elements were recovered from the site sample). Feature 7 also contained 99.6% of the 1,059 maygrass caryopses and 93.4% of the Cucurbita rind fragments recovered from the site sample.

Table 20. Plant Remains from Site 40HK6 - Hickory Shell, Black Walnut Shell, Juglandaceae Shell, and Hazelnut Shell.
Table 21. Plant Remains from Site 40HK6 - Maygrass Seeds, Bedstraw Seeds, Cucurbita Rind, Wood Charcoal, Sample Residue, and Total.

Rind thickness was measurable on 24 of the 57 Cucurbita fragments recovered from Feature 7 (measurements in mm):

0.80.70.5
0.70.90.5
0.51.10.8
0.50.80.7
0.50.61
0.70.60.3
0.80.70.9
0.90.81.2
Four woody genera were represented in the Feature 7 wood charcoal assemblage. The relative representations are almost identical for hickory (Carya spp.), Oak (Quercus-combined), and pine (Pinus spp.). The representation of walnut (Juglans spp.) varied from the other three genera by only 5 percent (Tables 22 and 23).

Table 22. Wood Charcoals from Site 40HK6 - Carya, Juglans, and Quercus.
Table 23. Wood Charcoals from Site 40HK6 - Fraxinus, Unus, Gleditsia triacanthos, Acer, Pinus, and Total.

The Feature 12 sample was comprised of material from three discrete fill zones. This feature accounted for 78.6% of the site sample flotation volume and 85.2% of recovered charcoal weight. The majority of all plant remains recovered from Feature 12 were found in Zone A. This zone contained all of the nutshell from the feature, all maygrass caryopses (N = 4), two of the four Cucurbita rind fragments from the feature, and 48.2% of the recovered >2 mm wood charcoal fragments. The four Cucurbita rind fragments from Feature 12 have thickness measurements of 1.4 mm, 0.8 mm, 0.7 mm, and 0.6 mm (0 = 0.87 mm).

Seven genera of woody plants were identified in the Feature 12 wood charcoal remains (Tables 22 and 23). Genera found in the Feature 12 sample that were not seen in the Feature 7 sample included: Fraxinus spp. (ash), Ulnus spp. (elm), Gleditsia triacanthos L. (honey locust), and Acer spp. (maple). Walnut (Juglans spp.), found in the Feature 7 sample, was not identified in the Feature 12 sample. Hickory and oak accounted for 66.6% of identified Feature 12 wood charcoals, and pine accounted for 20.7%.

Interpretation

The early Middle Woodland period samples from site 40HK6 presented some similarity to the 40HK5 samples (especially the low-frequency representation of arboreal nut remains). The site sample also presented significant differences - the presence of Cucurbita remains and maygrass (Phalaris caroliniana Walt.) caryopses. Maygrass is well documented as a cultivated plant during the Middle Woodland period in what is now Tennessee (Crites 1978, 1987, 1991, 1997; Kline et al. 1982). The oldest known context for maygrass in the region is the approximately 4,000-year-old Bacon Bend site sample (Chapman 1981; Chapman and Shea 1981) from East Tennessee.

Cucurbita rind fragments are thin and do not present morphology that might indicate a domesticated form (i.e., Cucurbita pepo ssp. ovifera var. ovifera - a native - or pepo ssp. pepo - a domesticated Mexican "squash"). Following threshold size (thickness) criteria detailed by King (1985) and later by Smith et al. (1992), the Cucurbita rind fragments fall in the range of native wild Cucurbita pepo ssp. ovifera var. ozarkana), a "weedy" free-living "egg gourd" cucurbit that can still be found in the Tennessee River Valley today along streams. This plant has at least a 7,000-year association with people in the Tennessee Valley (Crites 1991).

Inferring site subsistence activities from contents of two (nonthermal) features produces tenuous results. However, the ethnobotanical assemblage does present data that are, in some respects, similar to data from other Middle Woodland sites in Tennessee while presenting a specific difference. The inventory of arboreal nuts is typical for early Middle Woodland contexts throughout the Tennessee River Valley and its tributaries in Tennessee. The predominance of hickory shell, with relatively low representation of acorn and hazelnut, is characteristic of regional Middle Woodland samples - a reflection of availability as well as differences in processing procedures and potential for preservation. Hazelnut, while never a substantial component of Middle Woodland assemblages, is more common and frequent than in Archaic and Mississippian period assemblages. This characteristic of regional assemblages is probably best considered a result of increasing permanence of occupations during the Middle Woodland period as compared to the Archaic and the increased distribution of site-specific edge areas resulting from anthropogenic influence on local forests during the Middle Woodland period. The decline in frequency and ubiquity again during the Mississippian period probably reflects the increased focus upon corn production and a conscious decision to devote energies to harvest of field crops such as corn.

The non-woody fruit inventory does present an uncommon manifestation for Middle Woodland site samples. It is typical of Middle Woodland samples containing maygrass and Cucurbita to also yield other taxonomic representatives of the starchy seed and oily seed complex (i.e., Chenopodium spp., Polygonum erectum, Helianthus annuus var. macrocarpus Ckll., and Iva annua). This complete suite (including maygrass and Cucurbita) reflects harvest, storage, and consumption during a year-round occupation. Maygrass indicates a spring/early summer harvest and the other five taxa indicate summer through late fall harvests.

Finding only maygrass and Cucurbita suggests local harvests during spring and summer while some other task(s) might be the focus of site activity/occupation. However, the presence of large silo-shaped pits at other early Middle Woodland sites is commonly interpreted as an indication of longer-term occupation. The limited representation of fall-maturing nuts, the presence of remains in the wild native cucurbit (which could be collected from local stream edges during summer), and the relatively strong representation of spring-maturing maygrass suggest that 40HK6 may have been occupied on a multiseasonal basis. However, the contents of the site sample do not indicate intensive long-term occupation. Based solely upon the botanical data, it would appear that the main site activities were not associated with food production (i.e., gardening or field cropping of native plants).

SUMMARY, INTERPRETATION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The portion of site 40HK6 within the proposed right-of-way contained Early Archaic through Middle Woodland components. Subsurface remains included early Middle Woodland storage facilities and hearths as well as a possible food processing area represented by an unprepared hearth surrounded by four postholes. Approximately three-fourths of the ceramics recovered from the site are limestone tempered with check stamped and plain surfaces. Other ceramic types include quartz and chert tempered fabric impressed and check stamped and plain sand tempered. Middle Woodland Greeneville/McFarland cluster PPKs were recovered from surface and pit feature contexts along with various Archaic types. Debitage recovered from pit features indicates that lithic reduction was a relatively important activity at the site during early Middle Woodland times while tool manufacturing/maintenance were not major activities. The site pattern is most similar to that found on Early Woodland and early Middle Woodland sites in Middle and East Tennessee (Alvey et.al. 1998; Bentz ed. 1989; Cobb 1978; Faulkner and McCollough 1974; Keel 1978; Kim et.al. 1998; McIlvenna et.al. 1994; McCollough 1978; McCollough and DuVall 1976). Early Woodland and early Middle Woodland seasonal base camps in these regions contained up to 55 pit features including earth ovens, hearths, storage pits, and indeterminate shallow basins. Many of these sites, or individual feature clusters on the sites, contained fewer than 20 pit features and domestic structures were lacking. Posthole areas were occasionally represented on the seasonal base camps. In Middle Tennessee, the seasonal base camps were associated with village areas that contained multiple domestic structures (Bentz 1986). In East Tennessee, a seasonal base camp like 40HK6 would probably be associated with a larger village area but information on this site type is lacking in this region. Such a village would most likely be similar to the late Middle Woodland Icehouse Bottom site on the Little Tennessee River (Cridlebaugh 1981). This site contained nearly 100 pit features and hundreds of postholes.

No further archaeological investigations are recommended for site 40HK5. Most, if not all, of the subsurface cultural features within the proposed right-of-way have been excavated and the associated material analyzed.

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The Cool Branch Cemetery (40HK9)
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This page was last updated on 20 Jan 2002.

For comments please send email to Chuck Bentz