Data Recovery Excavations at the Cranks Creek Site (15Hl58), Harlan County, Kentucky

Author(s): Andrew Bradbury

Year: 2005


Between June 17 and August 9, 2002, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. personnel conducted phase III data recovery excavations at the Cranks Creek site (15Hl58). The project was initiated in conjunction with the proposed realignment of US 421 near the community of Cranks in southeastern Harlan County, Kentucky (Item Number 11-254.00). The data recovery excavations were implemented to mitigate the adverse effects posed to the site from the proposed road construction. The excavations generally followed the data recovery plan developed as part of the phase II investigations. The site lies on a broad floodplain near the confluence of Barn Creek and Cranks Creek, approximately 80 m southeast of the current intersection of US 421 and State Route 138. The proposed realignment of this section of US 421 runs directly through the site.

Data recovery investigations consisted of the excavation of units and features, mostly within two excavation blocks. These investigations documented the presence of a series of stratified prehistoric occupations that extended from just below the plowzone to approximately 110 cm below ground surface. Forty-eight cultural features and 43 post holes were identified in addition to sub-plowzone cultural deposits. Cultural materials recovered from these deposits represented the Early Archaic through Late Woodland periods.

The Late Woodland occupation was represented by one feature. Additional Late Woodland materials were recovered from disturbed contexts. Late Woodland remains may have once been more extensive; however, historic plowing has likely truncated portions of this component. Radford series ceramics were recovered from the feature.

The Middle Woodland component was represented by two structures and associated features in Block 1. Mulberry Creek Plain and Wright Check Stamped ceramics dominate the Middle Woodland assemblage. Lesser amounts of Pigeon Plain and Simple Stamped and Mills Plain ceramics represent the remaining Middle Woodland types. A residential occupation is suggested that occurred during the summer to fall months.

Early Woodland occupation of the site was represented by one feature. Only a light density of material could be associated with this component. An ephemeral occupation is suggested.

Late Archaic materials were recovered from both Blocks 1 and 2. These may represent two separate occupations of the site. Both components appear to represent short-term, residential occupations. They were likely reoccupied a number of times during the late spring to early fall months. Iddins cluster hafted bifaces dominated the Late Archaic diagnostics. Minor amounts of steatite were also recovered. A light density of materials and one feature in Block 2 was associated with the Middle Archaic component. The light density of materials is suggestive of a short-term occupation. No diagnostic artifacts were recovered from this component. One feature and materials recovered from unit excavation in Block 1 were associated with the Early Archaic occupation of the site. Bifurcate Base cluster hafted bifaces dominated the diagnostic Early Archaic materials. The Early Archaic component is interpreted as representing a short-term, residential occupation that took place during the fall months.

Cite this Record

Data Recovery Excavations at the Cranks Creek Site (15Hl58), Harlan County, Kentucky. Andrew Bradbury. 2005 ( tDAR id: 455370) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8455370

Spatial Coverage

min long: -83.288; min lat: 36.818 ; max long: -83.183; max lat: 36.894 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Jessica Allgood; Renee Bonzani; Daniel Hays; Jonathan P. Kerr; Andrew V. Martin; Michael D. Richmond


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.

File Information

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