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Archaeologists investigate the Twin Branch Rockshelter.

Twin Branch Rockshelter

Site ID: 15Wo232

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


​​A large southeast-facing rockshelter, ​​​​​​​​​​Twin Branch measures 60 feet long and has a maximum depth of 50 feet. Its maximum height at the entrance reaches approximately 15 feet above the dripline.  Toward the back of the shelter, however, the roof is less than 3 feet high. 

Roof fall covers most of the floor, especially toward the rear. Although this limits the shelter's available livable space, an ample flat area in excess of 300 square feet would have been available to the site's Fort Ancient inhabitants.   

Archaeologists conducted limited excavations at this site in 2006.

Archaeologists clean a trench for a photograph.


​​The focus of archaeological investigtions at Twin Branch Rockshelter was on a relatively level area in the site's center.  Archaeologists excavated an L-shaped block of eight 3-by-3-foot units within this area to a depth of 1 foot. They documented several hearths and a few storage pits. 

Artifacts included Late Fort Ancient ceramics and animal bone, as well as triangular arrowheads and debris from maintaining and resharpening stone tools.  Characteristics of the ceramics, such as thin vessel walls and applied strips on jar necks, were similar to ceramics recovered from rockshelters in nearby Menifee and Powell counties.  Native groups occupied all these sites sometime after 1600 AD and before 1750 AD.

Triangular arrowheads recovered from Twin Branch Rockshelter.

Archaeologists screen soil to recover artifacts.

What's Cool?

​Shared Traditions

Ceramics from Twin Branch Rockshelter are almost identical to those from the nearby John Malone Rockshelter (15Wo12) .  Not only are jars from the two sites similar in color and size, and have smoothed necks, but both exhibit horizontal cordmarks on the jar body. 

This is a very uncommon cordmark orientation for any time period in Kentucky.  These similarities led researchers to suggest that the vessels were made by the same potter or by a group of related potters who shared a common ceramic tradition.

Late Fort Ancient Madisonville Cordmarked ceramics from John Malone (left) and Twin Branch (right).

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