(Originally presented as a poster at the 73rd SAA, Vancouver, BC. The text and figures have been slightly modified from the original versions for this venue.)


Introduction: The Reinhardt site is a Fort Ancient village in central Ohio located in a poorly-documented area between the Voss and Gartner sites. The site is well known to local collectors and amateur archaeologists. The first systematic investigation of Reinhardt was conducted by James Morton and Mike Oehlinger in 1988. Morton’s field notes provide the basis for what was known about the site prior to our investigation. Our recent investigations have focused on discovering the precise location and structure of this Fort Ancient village. We have conducted a magnetic gradiometry survey (Figure 1), a magnetic susceptibility (MS) survey (Figure 2), an intensive surface collection, and a volumetric (8 or 16L) shovel test survey (Figure 3). We present the preliminary results of these investigations and conclude with a strategy for using this information in future investigations.


Results: The magnetometry survey reveals a large cluster of over 100 probable pit features ~70 m across (Figure 1). There is no apparent ring-shaped structure to the village as was expected based on Morton’s notes and other Fort Ancient villages. However, we were surprised to find a previously unknown Woodland earthwork (Keith Peters Square, 33PI917). Morton’s notes indicated only a limited Woodland period component—a single Flint Ridge bladelet fragment. The MS shows a compact cluster of high susceptibility, indicating the distribution of the midden (Figure 2). There is an area of lower susceptibility between the peaks, however. The surface survey reveals a possible plaza area through the absence of artifacts in several different categories (Figures 4-7). The clusters of shell and pottery are coincident with the MS peaks (Figures 4, and 6). The pottery and, especially, shell appear to indicate an arc. The shovel test faunal remains are confined to the area of highest susceptibility (Figure 9). The shovel test FCR distribution does not reveal an obvious village structure (Figure 8). Similarly, the distribution of flakes does not disclose an obvious village structure (Figure 10). The flake and FCR peaks occur in areas of lower susceptibility and rarely overlap the MS peaks.


Discussion: In culture history narratives of Ohio prehistory, Fort Ancient groups are more often than not depicted as living in ring-shaped villages with an open plaza and concentric zones of activity (Carskadden and Morton 2000; Dunnell 1983; Heilman et al. 1988; Henderson 1998). What little variation in site structure that is observed is often treated as having temporal significance (e.g., Pollack and Henderson 1992, 2000). However, the number of sites excavated sufficiently to reveal site structure is small. Recent analyses have illustrated the importance of examining local variation within cultural historical types (Means 2007). According to Means (2007), reliance on these types glosses over much variation and can result in incomplete and/or incorrect narratives about the record (see also Essenpreis 1978). As illustrated in Figure 1, the paucity of investigated sites applies to the Middle Scioto Valley as well. Only two villages have been excavated, and the excavations at Gartner do not permit reconstruction of site structure (see Mills 1904). As a result, we have very little information about the structure of Fort Ancient villages in this northern territory. Evidence shows that the one village with a deciphered structure is a large circular village (Brady-Rawlins 2006 , 2007). Site structure is often argued to be directly related to social structure, especially among Late Prehistoric Ohio River Valley agriculturalists (Cook 2007; Means 2007). In order to construct accurate historical narratives we need to have an understanding of the variation present in site structure in each region.


The Reinhardt site is positioned well to contribute to our understanding of the Late Prehistory of the Middle Scioto River Valley. Not only is the Reinhardt site in a geographic data gap, it is a typologically early site (cordmarked, grit-tempered pottery; Type 2 Fine Triangular points [Railey 1992]). This allows us to evaluate generalized models for change in village structure over time (Pollack and Henderson 2000). With that goal in mind we turn to the evidence for village structure at Reinhardt. The Gradiometry survey (Figure 1) did not reveal a “typical” circular structure as expected. However, there is a very distinct cluster of anomalies that nearly agrees with the estimates of the size of the village given by Morton. It is possible that other components are obscuring the structure of the village; however, it is expected that the Late Prehistoric component should numerically swamp all other components and dominate any pattern analysis (Dunnell 1983). We can see that this is likely the case at Reinhardt when the typed bifaces are mapped (Figure 7). There are minimally four other time periods represented at the site (Middle and Late Archaic, Middle Woodland, and Late Woodland). It is likely that most of the material recovered relates to the Fort Ancient occupation, but it is possible that pits from the other components are also present in the gradiometry data. The MS data matches the magnetometry data quite well, indicating an ~80 m area of high intensity. Within that area there are several peaks. The peaks are distributed in an arc (Figure 2). There is no evidence of a ring and no clear indication of a vacant plaza. Turning to the artifact distributions we can see a possible arc or ring-shaped distribution in the surface collection distributions. Interestingly, we see a consistently open area in multiple classes of artifacts (Figures 4-7). The area that is nearly devoid of surface artifacts is located between the MS peaks, and the surface clusters overlap the interior of these peaks. While it is tempting to interpret this as the “typical” ring-shaped signature of a Fort Ancient village the shovel test distributions fail to display the same pattern. In Figures 9-11 the artifact counts have been standardized as quantity per 8 liters of soil (hence the presence of 0.46 FCR/8L). Figures 8 and 10 are interpolations (spline) from the known data points. The fauna distribution clearly matches the village dimensions exhibited by the MS and, especially, the gradiometry. The FCR (Figure 8) and flake (Figure 10) distributions both reveal peaks in the possible plaza indicated by the surface distributions. This seems to indicate that there is an atypical village organization and/or pattern of behavior at the Reinhardt site. It is also possible that the presence of multiple occupations is obscurring the pattern of the Late Prehistoric occupation. Another possible complicating factor is the irregular plow scar in the northwest of the magnetometry data. This feature cuts straight through the surface indicated “plaza”, and may be thwarting our efforts to discover the structure of the village. The current data are not sufficient to confirm or reject the presence of a circular Fort Ancient village, though the MS data argues against it. The Reinhardt site holds the potential to increase our knowledge of the variability inherent in Middle Scioto Valley Fort Ancient community structure and patterns of behavior. The four data sets presented here will guide future investigations into site structure at the Reinhardt site.


Future Directions: We have several tantalizing clues as to the nature of the Reinhardt village. Excavations this summer will focus on investigating the possible patterns detected in the surface and remote sensing data. Specifically, we will focus on identifying the village structure and the presence/absence of the typical activity zones (plaza, refuse, mortuary, habitation). Excavation trenches will be placed to cross-cut the clusters and the MS peaks (Figure 11). Identifying local patterns and variation in the organization of space is crucial to building a nuanced understanding of regional prehistory (e.g. Means 2007).


Figure 1. Gradiometry Survey Results.


Figure 2. Magnetic Susceptibility Survey Results.


Figure 3. Location of Survey Sampling.


Figure 4. Surface Collection Shell Distribution.


Figure 5. Surface Collection Bone Distribution.


Figure 6. Surface Collection Pottery Distribution.


Figure 7. Surface Collection Distributions.


Figure 8. Interpolation of Shovel Test FCR per 8 Liters of Soil.


Figure 9. Shovel Test Fauna per 8 Liters of Soil.


Figure 10. Interpolation of Shovel Test Flakes per 8 Liters of Soil.


Figure 11. Test Trench Stategy.


Works Cited

Brady-Rawlins, Kathleen

2006     Archaeological Investigation of the Voss Site.  Current Research in Ohio Archaeology 2006, http://www.ohioarchaeology.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=174&Itemid=32, accessed May 11, 2008.

2007    The O.C. Voss Site: Reassessing What We Know About the Fort Ancient Occupation of the Central Scioto Drainage and its Tributaries. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Anthropology, The Ohio State University.

Carskadden, Jeff, and James Morton

2000    Fort Ancient in the Central Muskingum Valley of Eastern Ohio: A View from Philo II Site. In Cultures Before Contact: The Late Prehistory of Ohio and Surrounding Regions, edited by RA Genheimer, pp. 158-193. Ohio Archaeological Council, Columbus.

Cook, Robert Allen

2007    Sunwatch: Fort Ancient Development in the Mississippian World. University of Alabama Press.

Dunnell, Robert C.

1983    Aspects of the Spatial Structure of the Mayo Site (15-JO-14) Johnson County, Kentucky. In Lulu Linear Punctated: Essays in Honor of George Irving Quimby, edited by RC Dunnell and DK Grayson, pp. 109-165. Anthropological Papers, Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan 72.

Essenpreis, Patricia

1978    Fort Ancient Settlement: Differential Response at a Mississippian—Late Woodland Interface. In Mississippian Settlement Patterns, edited by BD Smith, pp. 141-168. Academic Press, New York.

Heilman, James M., Malinda C. Lileas, Christopher Turnbow (eds.)

1988    A History of 17 years of Excavation and Reconstruction – A Chronicle of 12th Century Human Values and the Built Environment, Volume I: Excavation. Dayton Museum of Natural History, Dayton, Ohio.

Henderson, A. Gwynn

1998    Middle Fort Ancient Villages and Organizational Complexity in Central Kentucky. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Anthropology, University of Kentucky.

Means, Bernard K.

2007    Circular Villages of the Monongahela Tradition. The University Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Mills, William C.

1904    Explorations of the Gartner Mound and Village Site. Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Publications 13:129-191.

Pollack, David, and A. Gwynn Henderson

1992    Towards a Model of Fort Ancient Society. In Fort Ancient Cultural Dynamics in the Middle Ohio River Valley, edited by AG Henderson, pp. 281-294. Monographs in World Archaeology No. 8, Prehistory Press, Madison, Wisconsin.

2000    Insights into Fort Ancient Culture Change: A View from South of the Ohio River. In Cultures Before Contact: The Late Prehistory of Ohio and Surrounding Regions, edited by RA Genheimer, pp. 194-227. Ohio Archaeological Council, Columbus.

Railey, Jimmy A.

1992    Chipped Stone Artifacts. In Fort Ancient Cultural Dynamics in the Middle Ohio River Valley, edited by AG Henderson, pp. 137-170. Monographs in World Archaeology No. 8, Prehistory Press, Madison, Wisconsin.

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