Paper No. 81-2
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM-2:00 PM
GEOMORPHOLOGY OF THE EAST STEUBENVILLE PANHANDLE ARCHAIC SITE: RIDGETOP SHELL MIDDENS
CREMEENS, D.L., LOTHROP, J.C., and MOHNEY, K.W., GAI Consultants, 570 Beatty Rd, Monroeville, PA 15146-1334, d.cremeens@gaiconsultants.com

The East Steubenville Site is on the southern end of a 30-60 m wide, north south oriented ridge overlooking the Ohio River in the "Northern Panhandle" of West Virginia. The site is used to define the Panhandle Archaic cultural complex (upland shell middens), and is the type-site for the Late Archaic Steubenville projectile point. The ridge is a terrace strath of the pre-/early Quaternary north-flowing ancestral Ohio River with weathered Pennsylvanian shales and sandstone overlain by pre-Illinoian alluvium, and capped by a 0.25-1.1 m mantle of Woodfordian loess with a surface blackened by industrial soot. Loess is thickest in the central and northern portions of the ridge and thinnest on the southern end and on the shoulder slopes where the shell middens are located. All three geologic materials have been weathered, are strongly to extremely acid (pH <4.5 to 5.5), and have soil profiles, or eroded remnants of soil profiles in them. Soils on the ridge crest have mature profiles developed in the three geologic materials, and indicate long-term pedogenesis in forested conditions. Ridge crest excavations revealed near surface concentrations of prehistoric stone tools and debris suggesting habitation and tool using/making activities. Soils on the shoulder slopes, where the shell middens are located, have thinner, less mature profiles, indicative of less stability and/or shorter-term pedogenesis, formed in thin loess and/or alluvium over residuum, or just residuum. The shell middens, restricted to 2-4 m wide bands along the shoulder slopes of the ridge, consist of deposits of freshwater mussels (23 species) and several large pit features. Pit features contained mussel shell, bone and lithic artifacts suggesting that the Late Archaic inhabitants used this part of the site for food processing and discard. Five human burials, dating from 3800 to 3710 BC, were also on the shoulder slopes, mostly associated with the shell middens.

2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)
Session No. 81
Archaeological Geology
Colorado Convention Center: A205
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, October 28, 2002
 

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