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Archaeologists investigate the Blue Hole site

Blue Hole

Site ID: 15Cs11

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


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Blue Hole site sits on a low terrace along the east bank of the upper Green River.  This portion of the Green River flows through the Knobs physiographic region, characterized by low, broad alluvial valleys bounded by steep-sided ridges.  The site was investigated in 2007 in advance of a state highway project. The site contained the deeply buried - more than 4 feet deep - remains of multiple  occupations of Native American hunter-gatherers spanning the Late Paleoindian through the Late Archaic periods. The focus of site use, however, occurred during the Early Archaic period (ca. 8000 to 6000 BC).

An archaeologist takes notes on soil color and texture.


​Investigators found quite a few chipped stone tools at Blue Hole, but very few well-made spear points. In fact, most tools were expedient tools (made for specific tasks and then discarded after use). At Blue Hole, most tools were scrapers, and although scrapers are common on Early Archaic sites, they typically do not dominate a site's chipped stone tool assemblage. 

Toolkits recovered from early hunter-gatherers campsites like Blue Hole generally reflect a range of plant collecting, animal hunting, and tool manufacturing and maintenance activities. The predominance of expedient tools at Blue Hole suggested that different activities took place there. The high percentage of scraping tools implied that this site was a specialized camp where a group's main focus was on butchering animals and processing the skinned hides. Specialized sites like this are not common. ​

Scrapers from the Blue Hole site.

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​Scraper Styles

In general, scrapers are small tools, roughly triangular to elongate in shape. Two kinds of scrapers were present​ within the Blue Hole tool assemblage. The most common was an endscraper with a steeply beveled working edge, often referred to as a “snub-nose scraper.” These are commonly found on early sites. The second form was a side or side-end scraper. These tools exhibit retouch (removal of small flakes along a tool's edge to shape it) along one or both side margins and on the "working" end (which also may have been beveled). These scrapers also are commonly found on early sites. 

Scrapers dominated most of the Blue Hole toolkit. Specialized toolkits, like the one from this site, provided a really unique look at specific activities and behaviors in the past - in this case butchering and hide processing​ - that are often overlooked or get lost in the more varied assemblages from larger campsites of this period​​.  ​

Side or side-end scrapers from the Blue Hole site.

Snub-nosed scrapers from the Blue Hole site.

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