Sunday, November 6, 2022

Archaeological Survey of Wayne County, Indiana


Archaeological Survey of Wayne County, Indiana

Of the archaeological sites of burial mounds and earthwork in Wayne County, Indiana, not ONE is recognized as a historical site or preserved!   Discover the giants in Indiana : Indiana's Ancient Giant Race

Almost 40 mound and earthwork sites were visited in Wayne County, Indiana.  Many of the burial mounds were in poor condition from being plowed and by wholesale destruction by the Indiana Historical Society that excavated many of the extant burial mounds in the 1930s. 

Eighth Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Indiana, 1876     
The south circle is in the best state of preservation. The embankment was made of the earth taken from the trench, which is on the inside of the embankment. Within, the ground has been made to slope gently from the center to the bottom of the trench, except to the east, where there was left a roadway leading from the center through a gateway in the embankment to the level ground beyond. The embankment is four feet above the surface of the field, and seven feet above the bottom of the trench, and wide enough on the top to allow two carriages to pass each other. The gateway is one rod wide. 

An additional round earthwork was discovedred in this 1992 aerial photograph.

This circle is made of gravelly soil, while the north circle is composed of loamand has yielded more to the destroying influence of plowing.  It is not as symmetrical as the other, being more oval in outline.

A "cut" is still visible between the two henges that lead on a gradual descent to a small creek that runs to the west of the earthworks.  It is evidence of an important concept at most earthworks sites that will have elements of both the Sky Father (sun) and the Earth Mother (creek)

Several hundred feet north from the second of the above-described circles is a group of five small circles (Plate B). With one exception these are about sixty feet in diameter and are now from one to two feet high. The circle numbered 3, on Plate B, is at the point of a tongue of higher ground, and affords an outlook over the other works.  The embankment of the largest work in this group (numbered 7) can not be traced on the south, that part being in a field which has long been cultivated. Trees of large size were, until recently, standing upon the embankments of these works.

      The high table-lands of this county and its deep canon-like river valleys afforded the Mound Builders favorable sites for their settlements, and we constantly find the remains of a number of large and interesting earthworks and a great many mounds scattered along the bluffs of the streams. Prof. J.C. MacPherson, county superintendent of schools of Wayne County, has kindly furnished me with a sketch of these ancient works, and as he has given considerable attention to the study of archaeology, his report is a very valuable acquisition to our knowledge on this subject, and I take pleasure in presenting it to the public

Observations on the Prehistoric Earthworks of Wayne County, Indiana”

     The surface of Wayne County presents many evidences of occupancy by the Mound Builders. Mounds are found in all parts of the county-situated on the uplands and along the courses of the streams. The plowshare has leveled many, and some have been removed in opening roads to the material used in making brick. Twenty-five mounds have been located on a map of the county prepared in connection with the geological report.

The works in the county seem to be a continuation southward from the works along White River in Randolph County, and follow the branches of the White Water. Perhaps, when all the works located in this part of the Ohio Valley are mapped, some systematic arrangement may be discovered.

Three miles north from Fountain City (formerly called Newport), on a rise overlooking the wooded valley of Noland’s fork, is a mound seventy-five feet in diameter, (section 19, township 18, range 15 east).

The Adena burial mound is now only a slight undulation in this plowed field.

Another is on the farm of Daniel Hough, adjoining Fountain City. A third is said to have been removed in making the principal street of that town.

One mile northeast from Fountain City, on level ground, between Noland’s fork and a small tributary-Buck run-is an embankment enclosing eleven acres. The figure (Plate C) of this earthwork is a square with curved corners. The length on the inside of the embankment is 780 feet. The embankment has been plowed over for years, yet can be plainly traced. A gateway is discernible on the west side, and hollows are found in the vicinity, which some suppose were made by the builders when collecting material for the embankment. Since the accompanying map was made, a more careful survey has discovered the fact that the direction of the embankment is not due north and south, but at an angle, with the west side nearly parallel with the road.

This map of the Fountain City Adena Square was done by the Indian Geological Survey and later amended by stating that the earthwork was parallel to the road.

From ground level, this work is a little more than a slight undulation in the field, but with lidar imagery, it can still be easily seen.

The Fountain City Square as it appears today. The undulation in the field is what remains of earthen walls that were fifty feet wide at the base.

A large mound stood two miles north from Chester (Section 4, Township 14, and Range 1 west). The greater part was removed in making the Arba road. A copper ring was found therein and is now in the collection at Earlham College. (Judge N.R. Overman informs me that four copper bracelets were found. He has one in his cabinet. He also has three flint implements taken from this mound.)

Several mounds are situated in the neighborhood of Middleboro. Some have been opened, but no contents worthy of notice have been obtained.

One mile north from Richmond, on the Hoover farm, and in the vicinity, several small mounds were located. In one, when removed, was found a copper ornament.

This map shows the location of two mounds and a square earthwork in what is now within the city limits and located overlooking the city hospital.

Only one of the two burial mounds is still visible off the street.  A house sits where the sqaure earthwork was once located
A mound near Earlham College was opened by President Moore and the usual contents of mounds found-pieces of pottery, ashes, and other evidences of fire.

On the J.C. Ratliff farm a mound was opened, and some small articles, which were at first supposed to be beads, but are now thought to be parched corn, found therein. L.B. Case, of Richmond, has some grains of corn, which were found in a jar some distance below the surface of the ground, in the vicinity of that place.

A large mound south from the town of Centreville was deemed of sufficient note to be marked upon an early map of the State but has since been destroyed.

In the southwestern part of Boston Township is a mound hidden away in a “hollow”, and one formerly stood south from Richmond near the Boston pike.

The mound described as being in a "hollow" is still there on private land. 

Traces of a mound are to be seen on the farm of James W. Martindale, adjoining Washington. This mound was opened in early times, and charcoal found near the original surface of the ground. A great quantity of arrowheads have been found around a spring (long since dry) near this mound.

A circular embankment was found near Green’s fork, east from Jacksonburg, twenty-five feet in diameter. It was long since plowed down.

Two mounds are to be seen a short distance northwest from Jacksonburg.

Overlooking Martindale’s creek in Jefferson Township (section 18, township 17 north, range 13 east,) is a mound. Also two in the bottom land along West River, at Hagerstown.

Two miles southeast from Milton (section 6, township 15, range 13 east,) is a beautiful mound, fifteen feet in diameter. Forest trees are still standing upon it; also a stump measuring two feet across.

The map shows a l;arge burial mound southeast of Milton, in Wayne County

The burial mound appears to be of natural origin.  

Near the county line, about one mile north of Waterloo, Fayette County, is a mound upon high ground, and about a mile to the southeast, in Fayette County, it is curiously shaped.

The following mounds were flound by despcriptions by the Indiana Historical Society archaeologists who made a concerted effort to destroy as many mounds in Wayne County as posssible.

Indiana Historical Society.

These are mounds in his report in addition to mounds reported by McPherson.

1.) Schroeder Mound. On the east bank of the Green Fork. Diameter of mound twelve feet, six inches. Located in the southeast one quarter of Section 21, Green Township.

I found what remains of the Schroeder mound just inside this woodline.  It was heavily damaged by the Indiana Historical Society.
 mound found in frac.-Section 19 of New Garden Township, mound was originally forty feet in diameter and three feet high.

2.) Teetor Mound. Located one mile east of Hagerstown on Highway 38. Originally the mound was 43 feet in diameter and eight feet high.  Southeast quarter of Section 23, Jefferson Township.

3.) Wolford Mound. Measured 45” in diameter and five and half feet high. One quarter mild northeast of the circular earthwork. Mound’s location was the northeast one quarter of Section 15, Jefferson Township.

4.) This mound was used by surveyors as a base for survey measurements. It was described as being 45 feet in diameter and nine feet high. Located in the northwest one quarter of Section 5, Jackson Township.

5.) Secrist Mound. Was located in a woods, one half mile southeast of Jacksonburgh. Mound was originally 42 feet in diameter and eight feet high. Located in the southwest one-quarter of Section 8, Harrison Township.

6.) Davis Mound. Near the edge of the east bank of the Green Fork stood a mound 43 feet in diameter and 5 feet high. Located in the northeast one quarter of Section 16, Harrison Township.

7.) No physical descriptions exist of two mounds located in the northeast one quarter of Section 6 and the northwest one quarter of Section 5, Harrison Township.

8.) In the northeast one quarter of Section 6 and the northwest one quarter of Section5, Harrison Township.

9.) Hodgins Mound. Original dimensions were thirty-nine feet north and south, forty-eight feet east and west and was three to four feet in height. Located in the southeast one quarter of Section 21, Wayne Township.

Burial mound is still visible on a table of high ground that descends into an aquifer within the cities arboreteum.

Richmond City Waterworks. The mound originally was thirty-five feet in diameter and nearly six feet high. Located in the northeast one quarter of Section 34, Wayne Township.

This burial mound was completely covered in the underbrush.  After clearing it for about a half-hour I was able to get this picture that shows the contours and size.