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Crew excavated the Baker shell midden


Site ID: 15Mu12

Kentucky Archaeological Survey
Unless specified, we cannot provide site location information.


​​​​​The Baker site is a Middle Archaic shell midden located along the Green River. It covers a 300 x 200 feet area, and the midden is 10 feet thick. University of Kentucky​ archaeologists investigated the Baker site in 1938 and again in 2009. This work recovered several hundred artifacts and documented four human burials, three dog burials, and a large number of hearths, cooking pits, and trash pits. Native hunter-gatherers occupied this site primarily during the late Middle Archaic (5000 to 4000 BC).​

Late Middle Archaic shell midden.


​Of the 216 diagnostic chipped stone tools recovered from the site, analysts classified 178 as Large Side Notched Raddatz spear points or hafted endscrapers.  The relatively large number of Middle Archaic chipped stone tools from Baker, coupled with the thickness of the midden, reflect a post-ca. 5000 BC trend toward decreased hunter-gatherer mobility, and longer, more intensive occupation of resource-rich areas within the Green River drainage. Decreasing mobility also coincided with an increase in mussel shell collecting, and hickory nut and walnut processing.

Also of note was the recovery of 23 pestles from Baker. These objects are generally interpreted as having been used to process/crush ​seeds and nuts. Most were conical in shape, although a few were bell-shaped. These pestles tended​​​ to be made from limestone, but one example from Baker was made from granite.

Examples of pestles recovered from shell midden sites in the Green River drainage.


Late Middle Archaic Raddatz spear points.

What's Cool?

​Tool Recycling

Around 5000 BC, as hunter-gatherer groups began to settle into the Ohio Valley, chipped stone tool recycling increased. A good example of recycling is the hafted endscraper. An endscraper is a unifacial tool (flaked on one side). It has one steep, beveled "working" edge oriented perpendicularly to the tool's long axis. 

A hafted endscraper has​ a hafting element (a way to attach the tool to a handle) located opposite the working edge. A hafted endscraper tends to be a bifacial tool (flaked on two sides). Hafted endscrapers are thought to be made from recycled spear points.  At sites like Baker, there was a​ sharp increase in the use of hafted bifacial endscrapers. Native flintknappers repeatedly resharpened these tools until they were thrown away, to be replaced by another hafted endscraper.

Hafted endscrapers.

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