The tale of a Rock: Backdirt, Backfill and Intrusive Historic Occupations of Woodpecker Cave

Author(s): James Enloe; Amy Meehleder; James McGrath

Year: 2017


Prehistoric occupations in rock shelter deposits are frequently of interest to archaeologists because of potentially good preservation of material culture and the possibility of multiple occupations in stratigraphic succession. Those sought-after phenomena are frequently occluded by subsequent accretional or intrusive historic occupations. This is particularly complicating when modern investigations are carried out in the context of poorly documented earlier archaeological excavations. Determining the sequence and causes of such intrusive disturbance is necessary for defining the extent and stratigraphic position of intact prehistoric occupations. Treating the historic materials in the same manner as prehistoric finds may help clarify the interpretation of the prehistoric components, as well as helping modern investigators understand how such locations have been used in both older and more recent occupations. Woodpecker Cave is a rockshelter purportedly entirely excavated in 1956; recent investigations have yielded areas of undisturbed prehistoric occupations. The lack of existing datum markers from the earlier excavation complicated spatial and stratigraphic correlation with the modern excavation. Historic and modern photographs in conjunction with meticulous mapping of modern artifacts have been essential in establishing horizontal and stratigraphic relationships between early and later excavations and in discovering evidence of more recent occupations with spatial and behavioral implications.

Cite this Record

The tale of a Rock: Backdirt, Backfill and Intrusive Historic Occupations of Woodpecker Cave. James Enloe, Amy Meehleder, James McGrath. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429283)

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Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15373