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Archaeological Investigations of Deeply Stratified Deposits at Crumps Sink, South-Central Kentucky, USA

Author(s): Justin Carlson

Year: 2016

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In the holokarstic Sinkhole Plain, sinkholes provided access to cave entrances for shelter, water, chert outcrops, and contain distinct microenvironments. As closed basins, sinkholes accumulate sediment from the surrounding catchment, burying archaeological deposits, sometimes rapidly. Therefore, these sites can provide critical information concerning paleoenvironmental change and human use of the surrounding landscape. Excavations were undertaken at Crumps Sink in the summer of 2015 to assess the chronology of occupation, determine the range of prehistoric activities, and assess the geomorphological and pedological history of the site. Stratified midden deposits spanning the Archaic and Woodland periods were encountered to a depth of 3.8 meters below surface. The density of archaeological deposits suggests the site was repeatedly occupied throughout the Archaic and Woodland periods. Geoarchaeological analysis of macro-stratigraphy, loose sediment samples, micromorphological samples, and associated archaeological material allow for an in depth discussion of the depositional and pedogenic history of the sink in relation to climatic and anthropogenic impacts over time. This work demonstrates that sinkholes should be investigated beyond traditional shallow testing because many may contain deep, well-preserved archaeological deposits.

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Archaeological Investigations of Deeply Stratified Deposits at Crumps Sink, South-Central Kentucky, USA. Justin Carlson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402968)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America