The Sun Fish Site: Phase III Investigations of 46MR155, a Late Woodland Period Site, Located In Franklin District, Marshall County, West Virginia

Author(s): Jamie Meece

Year: 2013


Acting on behalf of Dominion Transmission, Inc., Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., contracted Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. to complete archaeological data recovery of the Sun Fish site (46MR155), located on a first terrace of the Ohio River near the communities of Kent and Natrium in Wells Bottom, Franklin District, Marshall County, West Virginia. The field investigation was conducted between June 6 and July 14, 201, in advance of anticipated impacts to the site resulting from the construction of the Natrium Extraction Plant. The data recovery investigation was completed through a combination of mechanical and hand excavations, with both near surface and deeply buried contexts sampled. A total of 303 potential cultural features were evaluated, with 88 cultural features including refuse pits, hearths, ephemeral basins, an earth oven, post molds, and a large, indeterminate pit excavated. Other cultural features identified, but not excavated, were mapped and photographed. A series of excavated post molds represent a circular post structure, and a partial arc formed by other excavated post molds may represent another structure. Excluding a modest assemblage of historic/modern items, artifacts dating from the Early Archaic to possibly the Late Prehistoric periods were recovered from plow zone contexts, while diagnostic artifacts recovered from feature contexts date to the Late Woodland Period. The small number of prelate Holocene hafted bifaces from the site may represent specimens recycled by the Late Woodland inhabitants. Radiometric dates for feature contexts and spatial analyses suggest that within the area examined at least three primary periods of occupation dating to approximately cal. A.D. 540 to A.D. 640, cal. A.D. 680 to A.D. 880, and cal. A.D. 780 to A.D. 980/990, and possibly as late as A.D. 1020, are represented. These results indicate occupations during the early and late parts of the Late Woodland period. The accuracy of the dates are supported by the material remains recovered, including hafted bifaces of the Lowe and Jack’s Reef clusters, and rock-tempered cordmarked ceramics similar to Childers and Watson wares. Macrobotanical remains include 40 taxa, consisting of plants that are considered to be Eastern Agricultural Complex cultigens, and two other domesticated plants, maize and tobacco. The presence of cultivated and wild resources illustrates that the Late Woodland occupants of the site practiced a mixed horticultural/foraging subsistence pattern. The collective data for the site indicate the Late Woodland component reflects multiple short term occupations, perhaps seasonal in nature. The structure does not have characteristics associated with known Late Woodland nucleated settlements in the region, but instead appears to represent a dispersed settlement possibly consisting of one to a few households. The site may have functioned as a hamlet within the Late Woodland settlement system.

Cite this Record

The Sun Fish Site: Phase III Investigations of 46MR155, a Late Woodland Period Site, Located In Franklin District, Marshall County, West Virginia. Jamie Meece. 2013 ( tDAR id: 455282) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8455282

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Renee Bonzani; Stevan Pullins; Christopher Nelson; Todd Grote


General Note: This submission was funded by the Food Connection Student Opportunity Grant from the University of Kentucky and was entered with the assistance of Ivaylo Ivanov, undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky.

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46MR155.pdf 51.37mb Feb 13, 2020 7:52:44 AM Public