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The Goolman site was located in a narrow valley that provided protection from the wind.


Site ID: 15Ck146

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


​​​​​​​​​​Goolman was the location of a Fort Ancient winter hunting camp, an important, though rarely documented, type of Fort Ancient site.  University of Kentucky archaeologists excavated the site in the l980s.  Fort Ancient people occupied Goolman from late fall to early spring sometime between the mid-1500s and mid-1600s. Situated on a gently sloping stream bottom less than 100 feet wide, it was near the head of a small intermittent stream that flows in a narrow, deeply incised valley. This setting would have provided protection from winter winds. 

The camp covered an area that measured 70 x 120 feet. Archaeologists documented three small structures and a few outdoor surface hearths, but no storage pits. A small group (between 17 and 32 people), such as an extended family or people related by kinship, likely lived at the camp.​​

Map showing the location of the three structures documented at the Goolman site.


​Two of the structures at Goolman were oblong or oval. They had floor areas of about 120 square feet. Both were much smaller than domestic structures at contemporary Fort Ancient villages. The wall framework, made from small, vertically-set posts chinked with rock, likely was covered with bark. Each had a central hearth, but investigators found little else inside. This suggested that the residents used these structures primarily for sleeping. 

Th​​​e largest structure stood at the center of the camp. It was rectangular. Its walls were made of wider, deeply set posts supported by many limestone rocks. This structure's framework, too, likely was covered with bark. Floor space was estimated at 225 square feet.  This structure had a hearth, but also an abundance of artifacts – lithics, ceramics, and food refuse – suggesting it was where residents carried out their daily activities. Archaeologists interpreted it as a communal structure, based on its size relative to the others, and on the large quantities of artifacts found inside. Life at Goolman revolved around day-to-day domestic chores, with an emphasis on hunting, butchering, and preparing hides, particularly deer; processing hickory nuts and walnuts; and making chipped stone tools from local chert (flint) sources.

Fragments of Late Fort Ancient Madisonville Cordmarked jars.

What's Cool?

​​​When Archaeology and History Match!

Investigations of the winter hunting camp at Goolman provided corroborating archaeological evidence for eighteenth-century documents that describe Native winter camps as a type of Indian settlement in the middle Ohio Valley.

Researchers call this historically documented settlement system the "Miami-Potawatomi pattern." In this system, Native peoples carried out spring and summer agricultural and hunting activities from large, permanent, year-round villages. During the late fall to early winter, however, some village residents left for several weeks or months to hunt in small, family or kin-related groups. Winter camps, like Goolman, served as these groups’ base of operations. Those who stayed behind maintained the village.
Drawings of triangular endscrapers, a diagnostic Historic Indian stone tool.

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