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A view of the Renox site looking south


Site ID: 15Cu110

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


​​​​Archaeologists excavated the Renox site prior to the realignment of Kentucky Highway 61 in Cumberland County.  From their research results, archaeologists concluded that Native groups had repeatedly used the ancient floodplain location over the course of several thousand years.  

Initially, small groups of Early Archaic hunter-gatherers​ camped at the site. Later Native peoples stayed at Renox for longer periods.  By 125​0 AD, Native farmers had established a small Mississippian village and cemetery at this location.​​

Early Archaic Kirk Corner Notched spear points.


​Native peoples repeatedly occupied the Renox site for over 8,000 years.  Evidence for the initial Early Archaic residents consisted of deeply buried, 30-inch-thick cultural deposits.  The number of diagnostic Early Archaic spear points and flakes increased from the bottom to the top in these deposits. This suggested that over time, Early Archaic hunter-gatherers visited the Renox site more frequently or stayed there for longer periods.  

By​​ Middle Woodland times, Native people were living at the site for even longer periods.  Archaeologists documented habitation areas that were separate from plant processing areas.  These Native gardeners used stone hoes to break the ground for their gardens.

Middle Woodland Copena spear points.

By 1250 AD, Mississippian farming people had established a village at Renox. These residents built houses and threw out their trash in specific trash disposal areas. They buried their dead in stone boxes in a cemetery close to the village.  

Mississippian Madison Triangular arrowheads.

Stone hoes used by Woodland gardeners and Mississippian farmers. From left to right: slate, sandstone, and two limestone hoes.

What's Cool?

​Fall Nut Processing

During Renox site investigations, archaeologists found large quantities of nuts, primarily black walnut, on what had once been the edge of an old river bank.  This suggested that residents during the Middle Woodland period had processed large amounts of ​fall-harvested nuts in this spot for later use.  

Nuts are a high-yield food resource. They are nutritious, calorie-dense, and an excellent source of protein.  Processing nuts into food, however, involved intensive preparation.  Native residents had to crack, grind, boil, and heat the nuts before they could make nut oil or nut cakes for later use.​   

​While at the site, Woodland groups also may have processed and eaten starchy-oily seeded plants they grew in their gardens.  Maygrass was the main domesticated Native garden plant found at the site, followed by goosefoot and sunflower.​

Excavation unit wall profile showing dark organically enriched Middle Woodland period deposits.

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