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Old Bank Building

Site ID: 15Bu537

Urban Residence
Kentucky Archaeological Survey
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​​​Granger and Associates and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey conducted archaeological excavations in 1995 and 1997 in the yard surrounding the Old Bank Building in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The early to mid-nineteenth-century stone building stood on the bank of the Salt River.  

The Old Bank Building was constructed by Abraham Field around 1817.  Field initially used the building as a store. But he also was a banker, and he developed a lucrative banking business during the early and mid-1800s.  By the 1840s, he had added a vault at the rear of the building.  He owned the property until 1856.  ​

The Old Bank Building in 1999.


Archaeologists recovered early to mid-1800s artifacts from sealed intact archaeological deposits in the rear yard of the Old Bank Building.  Artifact analysis confirmed that it was one of Sheperdsville's earliest structures still standing.  

Although the building was thought to have been used solely as a store for most of its early history, the recovery of a large number of domestic artifacts - dish fragments, bottle glass, buttons, marbles, animal bone, and a smoking pipe - led researchers to conclude that Field and his family lived in the building while it also served as a store and a bank.   

Early nineteenth-century green shell-edge creamware (left) and blue shell-edge pearlware (right).

What's Cool?

​Spanish Silver Coin

Investigators recovered a cut section of a silver Spanish coin from the Old Bank Building site.  It may date to the late 1700s.

Silver and gold coins minted in other countries were legal tender in the early years of the United States, as the government struggled to establish its own currency. Spanish coins were the most commonly used foreign currency in the United States ​from colonial times to the early 1800s. 

A Spanish coin's value was based on the weight of the silver it contained.  A shortage of smaller denomination coins often led users to cut larger denomination coins into equal sections to make change.  Although cutting coins was legal in the United States until 1965, the practice was typically associated with America's early years.

A cut section of a Spanish coin.

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