Archeological Excavations in the Round Bottom Area, Hannibal Locks and Dam, Ohio River, Marshall County, West Virginia


This report documents the excavation results obtained by the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey's Archeology Section during the summer of 1973. Emil R. Liddell of Fairmont State College served as Field Supervisor for the four-week project, which was cosponsored by the National Park Service (Contract Number CX-4000-3-0064) and the Geological Survey.

The Round Bottom area is located approximately 3.5 miles down the Ohio River (to the west) from Moundsville, West Virginia, on property owned by Allied Chemical Corporation. The cooperation and assistance of Allied Chemical and their employees made the project possible and, although not as rewarding as hoped, successful.

This area of the Ohio River valley has been surface collected and examined by a number of archeologists (professional and amateur) over the past 25 years, notably Ralph Solecki (Appendix A) and Charles Lally of McMechem, West Virginia. During the Spring of 1973, a contractor engaged by Allied Chemical excavated a large test pit to determine if the water quality and volume of the Ranny Well could be improved. As this excavation progressed, a fired area 3 to 5 feet in diameter and 14 feet below the existing surface was uncovered by the dragline. It was described by Allied Chemical employees as dishpan-shaped, and contained considerable charcoal, fire-cracked rock, and bone (probably deer).

The area known as "Round Bottom" is situated in a large loop of the Ohio River, between the river and a steep-sided ridge that rises abruptly from the valley and reaches an elevation of over 1,200 feet above sea level (the valley is between 640 and 750 feet above sea level). The terrain of the Round Bottom area was once a series of wide sloping alluvial terraces covering approximately 578 acres on the east and south sides of the Ohio River which flows from east to west near the area excavated in 1973. The present normal pool stage of the Ohio River is 610 feet above sea level, but will be several feet higher after completion of the Hannibal Locks and Dam located north of New Martinsville.

Today, it is difficult to reconstruct many original topographical features in Round Bottom due to various types of construction and expansion undertaken during the past few years by Allied Chemical Company, including several buildings, ditches, wells, landfills, settling basins, and access roads. The southern half of the bottom (to Butter Run) is taken up by the Moundsville Golf Course.

Cite this Record

Archeological Excavations in the Round Bottom Area, Hannibal Locks and Dam, Ohio River, Marshall County, West Virginia. Emil R. Liddell. 1975 ( tDAR id: 446944) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8446944

Spatial Coverage

min long: -81.644; min lat: 39.645 ; max long: -79.941; max lat: 40.226 ;

Record Identifiers

Contract No.(s): CX-4000-3-0064


General Note: The digital materials in this collection were processed by the Veterans Curation Program (VCP), and include the finding aid, map, original investigation report, oversized material spreadsheet, and scanned asset key. Additional digital materials held by the VCP include archaeological reports, archives database, proposals, and other investigation reports. For additional information on these materials, refer to the finding aid.

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