Working in the Pits: Investigating Semi-subterranean (Pit) Structures in Northern Ohio

Brian G. Redmond, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

In recent years, archaeologists working at Late Prehistoric period (ca. AD 1200-1650) habitation sites in northern Ohio have documented a distinct architectural type, the semi- subterranean, keyhole-shaped structure. These pit structures are generally ovoid to rectangular in plan with sunken, flat-bottomed floors and inclined trench-like entryways. Similar types of structures are known from adjacent regions of the Midwest and Northeast and have been variously interpreted as storage bins, sweat lodges, smoke houses, or cold-season dwellings. The presentation highlighted new evidence of pit structures from northeast Ohio and discussed the implications of such features for the study of Late Prehistoric community patterns and site seasonality.