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Archaeologist working at Site 15Ru140.


Site ID: 15Ru140

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


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Site 15Ru140 sits on a terrace overlooking the Cumberland River floodplain.  Cultural Resource Analysts investigated this site prior to construction linked to a bridge relocation.  Investigators documented a Mississippian period house that Native people had rebuilt three times between 1350 to ​1400 AD.  

The presence of only one structure at Site 15Ru140 suggested that the site was a farmstead occupied by a single family for several generations.  Changes in house size over time may reflect a fluctuation in family size, with the smaller final house possibly reflecting a reduction in family size.

House history: initial house (blue wall-trench); second (brown wall-trench); third (green posts); final (orange wall-trench).


​Though plowing and erosion had impacted the house's floors and some of its walls, researchers were able to identify a construction sequence.  The initial structu​​re was represented by two wall trenches in the southern portion of the site.  This house measured at least 25 feet northwest–southeast. Rebuilding truncated its northeast-southwest trending wall.  

In rebuilding this house, the residents shifted it to the northeast.  This second house was about the same size as the initial house. It measured 26 feet northeast-southwest by 28 feet northwest–southeast. The interior living area encompassed approximately 754 square feet.  

The third structure appears to have been a single-set post house, and was much smaller.  It measured approximately 17 feet northeast-southwest by 17 feet northwest–southeast.  The interior living area of this house encompassed 280 square feet.  

The last house, another wall-trench structure, cut across the wall trench of the second house. ​Investigators exposed this last structure completely. It measured 21 feet northeast-southwest by 17 feet northwest–southeast.  Its interior living area measured approximately 379 square feet. 

Investigators documented a central hearth only within the last ​house. Plowing may have disturbed the hearths associated with the earlier structures.

Hearth in center of last house (note red burning on sides and bottom of hearth).

What's Cool?

​Round Stones

Archaeologists recovered several intentiona​lly shaped, round stone balls from Site 15Ru140.  Archaeologists found similar examplesat the Renox site in nearby Cumberland County. Those were made from fine-grained sandstone, quartzite, and cobbles of unknown material, and ranged in size from marble-sized to somewhat larger.

These objects occur on sites that date from the Archaic period to the Mississippian period in Eastern North America. How Native people used these objects is unknown. Researchers have suggested that they may have been used in hunting or fishing activities, as weapons, or perhaps as gaming pieces.

Examples of round stone balls recovered from Site 15Ru140.

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