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Sun setting over site


Site ID: 15Ck613

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


​​​​​​​​​​​The Earthwalker site is a small Middle Woodland circular ditched enclosure. Archaeologists from Washington University in St. Louis​ investigated it in 2015.  

Based on aerial photographs and a geophysical survey, the site is circular with a diameter of roughly 66 feet. The ditch surrounding the enclosed area had been dug to a depth of 5 feet, which extended through layers of bedrock. A series of posts were positioned north of and outside the enclosure entrance, likely after Native peoples had refilled the ditch. Several of these posts were chinked with large non-local sandstone rocks. Since these posts were potentially placed at the site after the enclosure was deconstructed, they may have served as markers after Native groups abandoned it.​​​

Close-up of a rock-chinked post.


​Radiocarbon dates on wood samples collected from the ditch and associated posts indicate that Native people built the enclosure sometime after 200 BC.  Over the centuries, groups living in central Kentucky continued to interact with this monument, long after its builders quit using it. This involved placing and removing the posts outside the enclosure and refilling the ditch. Some posts placed outside the site entrance may have been markers erected to indicate the earthen enclosure's location.

To build the enclosure, indigenous builders had to dig through layers of loose bedrock.

What's Cool?

​Modern Site Discovery Techniques

While most archaeological sites are discovered by on-the-ground study of the landscape, researchers have turned to other methods, such as aerial photography and geophysical techniques, to find and learn about sites. 

The Earthwalker site was visible to European-Americans who moved to Clark County in the late 1700s, but by the 1900s, it was difficult to see. It was only through examining aerial photographs - that showed differences in vegetation growth - and magnetic gradiometry that archaeologists rediscovered the site.  

Magnetic gradiometry measures differences in Earth’s naturally-occuring magnetic field. Magnetometers map these differences to identify the magnetic signature and location of certain human-altered deposits, like refilled ditches, hearths, storage pits, houses, and other remnants of human-made features. 

Enclosure images: aerial photograph taken during the 2012 drought (left), and map of the magnetometer data (right).

Related Materials

​​Adena: Woodland Period Moundbuilders of the Bluegrass

The Adena People: Moundbuilders of Kentucky​

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