THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL GEOLOGY OF A STRATIGRAPHICALLY COMPLEX HOLOCENE SEQUENCE IN THE LOWER OHIO RIVER VALLEY
Sediment units in the project locality encompass a wide range of geomorphic systems, including Ohio River lateral accretion/overbank units, low and higher order tributary stream deposits, and colluvial material that are inset or commingle in a complex fashion. Soil-geomorphic and sedimentological analyses were used to discriminate these landform sediment assemblages. Early and late Holocene units differ in their textural, bedding, and soil weathering properties.
Archaic and Woodland occupations are stratified in these sediment packages to a depth of up to 5 meters. Cultural deposits are differentially affected by various geomorphic and soil processes. Especially in the early Holocene units prehistoric occupations are influenced by processes associated with high energy tributary stream channels that interdigitate with lower energy lateral accretion and overbank deposits laid down by the Ohio River as it formed a point bar and subsequent levee. At the same time Ohio River bar/levee formation resulted in a complex set of sloping paleotopographic surfaces that Archaic hunter-gatherers occupied. The stratigraphic distribution of artifacts, features, and radiocarbon ages are a key to identifying and tracing these surfaces and understanding their stratigraphic relationship.