5,000 Years of Life and Death Along the Natchez Bluffs: Archaeological and Historical Inventory and Reporting for Reaches 6 and 7 of the Natchez Bluff Stability Study and the Orleans Street Disposal Area, Adams County, Mississippi

Author(s): Thurston Hahn III; Douglas Wells; Joanne Ryan

Year: 2005


Between December 1998 and November 2000, Coastal Environments, Inc., (CEI) conducted Phase I and Phase II cultural resources investigations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Vicksburg District, in regard to construction activities related to Reaches 6 and 7 of the Natchez Bluffs Stability Project in Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi (DACW38-98-D-0004, Delivery Order No. 18). The project area is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River at Natchez-Under-the-Hill and along the adjacent Natchez Bluffs. The 4.02 ha (9.94 ac) Reaches 6 and 7 construction area lies fully within the Natchez Bluffs and Under-the-Hill Historic District— a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)

property. In addition to the Reaches 6 and 7 project area, CEI also examined a deep ravine located immediately east of the Natchez Bluffs Stability Project (DACW38-98-D-0004, Delivery Order No. 5). This area is referred to as the Orleans Street Disposal Area and comprises approximately 1.42 ha (3.5 ac). It is partially situated in the Natchez-on-Top-of-the-Hill Historic District and partly within the Downriver Residential Historic District—both NRHP properties.

CEI’s cultural resources investigations of those project areas resulted in the identification of one archaeological site, the Bicentennial Gardens site (22AD999)—a multi-component site containing a range of both prehistoric and historic archaeological resources. By the time the field excavations at the Bicentennial Gardens site were completed, CEI had examined 96 cultural features and recovered 173,771 artifacts. Among the examined features were 25 burial pits associated with a previously unrecorded late-eighteenth century cemetery. Four of the human burials were exhumed to allow the construction of the Natchez Bluffs Stability Project to be completed on schedule. The history of the area combined with the nails and buttons recovered during the exhumations suggest that the cemetery served the Protestant community of Natchez between about 1763 and 1822. Although much of the cemetery area was examined, there is the capacity for approximately 40 additional burials within the unexamined area, and possibly more.

The primary goal of this project was to locate all archaeological remains within the project area and to assess their significance in terms of National Register eligibility through guidelines established by the National Park Service. The Bicentennial Gardens site (22AD999) is a multicomponent prehistoric, historic native American, and Euro-American site, with occupations running almost continuously from the Late Archaic/Early Woodland periods through modern times. Intact prehistoric deposits are widespread at the site. A protohistoric and historic native American occupation is responsible for many of the features and deposits found at the site, and may represent activities that took place there during the French occupation of nearby Fort Rosalie. These deposits have been damaged to a large extent by subsequent historic activities. However, the intact deposits have the potential to reveal a wealth of information about prehistoric occupations in the Natchez Bluffs area. In addition, the site contains a wealth of in situ deposits related to the Euro-American occupation of the Natchez Bluffs. Although many of those remains have been damaged from past construction activities, evidence of the colonial, Early American, and industrial eras abound at the site.

Cite this Record

5,000 Years of Life and Death Along the Natchez Bluffs: Archaeological and Historical Inventory and Reporting for Reaches 6 and 7 of the Natchez Bluff Stability Study and the Orleans Street Disposal Area, Adams County, Mississippi. Thurston Hahn III, Douglas Wells, Joanne Ryan. Baton Rouge, LA: Coastal Environments, Inc. 2005 ( tDAR id: 375556) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8MC90ZR

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.434; min lat: 31.529 ; max long: -91.377; max lat: 31.582 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Carey Coxe; Katherine Roberts

Principal Investigator(s): David B. Kelley

Prepared By(s): Coastal Environments Inc., Baton Rouge, LA

Submitted To(s): US Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District

Record Identifiers

US Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District(s): DACW38-98-D-0004; Delivery Order No. 18

File Information

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