An Appraisal of the Archaeological Resources of the Lafayette and Patoka Reservoirs and a Report of the Test Excavation Conducted at Site HR 11 in Harrison County Indiana

Part of the Breeden Site (12HR11) 1966 project

Author(s): James O. Bellis

Year: 1966


The proposed archaeological surface surveys and test excavations were conducted under the terms of Contract No. 14-10-0529-2880, and the report was submitted to the National Park Service and the United States Department of the Interior. Surveys and test excavations were conducted in the Lafayette Reservoir, Wildcat Creek, Patoka Reservoir, and the Patoka River areas in Indiana. The surveys began on June 14, and completed on July 8, 1966. The objective of these surveys was to locate and evaluate, for possible salvage, all prehistoric and historic site resources within the limits of the proposed reservoirs.

The Breeden Site, 12HR11, is located in Harrison County, Indiana, and extends along the bank of the Ohio River. Though James O. Bellis was the primary site leader, he expressed his indebtedness to Robert Mulvey of West Lafayette, Indiana. The Breeden Site was known for many years by collectors in the area, but was officially first reported in July, 1964, by John Dorwin, a graduate student at Indiana University. In addition to the excavations at the Breeden Site, a site survey was performed and a total of 13 sites were identified. County symbols refer to the following: T=Tippecanoe. In all, 12 sites were located by the survey and one other, which was earlier recorded by Mr. Mulvey, was revisited. Of these 13 sites, (T2, T47, T48, T49, T50, T51, T52, T53, T53, T56, T57, and T58), only one would need further investigation, site T2. This site is one of the few village sites to be located far from a major waterway, which in this case is the Wabash River, in the overall reservoir salvage survey program. As an exception to the above mentioned general conditions of reservoir surveys, this site exhibited numerous indications that it has remained relatively undisturbed beneath the silt level and that it is a fairly large village site. Site T2 was deemed to be of significant consequence to the prehistory of the area and Bellis recommended that an extensive test excavation program on site T2 be conducted. Bellis stated that the site would be completely inundated if the plans for the Lafayette Reservoir are carried through to completion.

The goal of this excavation was twofold. First, it was the intent of the investigator to recover enough of a sample of the Breeden Site’s cultural material to be able to compare it to what has been recovered from other shell middens in the Ohio Valley. Though the extent of this excavation was not thorough enough to permit a statistical statement, a brief but useful comparison could be made. The second primary goal of the excavation was to test the extent of the shell deposit, to determine if this site was significant enough in size to merit a more complete salvage effort before it became more extensively damaged by high waters. During the 1966 season, several types of soil augers were used to test sites in Indiana. Bellis, in his report stated, “We found ten sites but the only sites which are potentially of significance are those which are located within the rock shelters, high up the drainage ravine near the ridge tops.” Bellis also stated,” I recommend that two be given further attention.” (Bellis 1966).

Cite this Record

An Appraisal of the Archaeological Resources of the Lafayette and Patoka Reservoirs and a Report of the Test Excavation Conducted at Site HR 11 in Harrison County Indiana. James O. Bellis. 1966 ( tDAR id: 402343) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8222WSS

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -86.421; min lat: 37.929 ; max long: -85.799; max lat: 38.445 ;

Record Identifiers

Contract No.(s): 14-10-0529-2880


General Note: The digital materials in this collection were processed by the Veterans Curation Program (VCP), and include the appraisal report, finding aid, and scanned asset key. Additional digital materials held by the VCP include a document folder listing, initial data collection, and notes. For additional information on these materials, refer to the Finding Aid.

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Contact(s): US Army Corps of Engineers Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections, St. Louis District