Andrew MyersLinks Section
Dutch Hill Rockshelter Preliminary Report of Findings
A Report of Findings of Excavations at the Dutch Hill Rockshelter (36JE132): A Temporary Bivouac in the Upper Clarion River Drainage of Western Pennsylvania
Dutch Hill Rockshelter under excavation
Andrew J. Myers
Dutch Hill Rockshelter (36JE132) was a small temporary campsite occupied by prehistoric groups while hunting and gathering and otherwise traveling through the Clarion River valley of western Pennsylvania. A smattering of material culture recovered through excavation suggests that the site was first occupied during the Archaic period some 4000 to 5000 years ago and would later become a popular way station for Late Prehistoric McFate/Chautauqua Phase groups circa A.D. 1500.
The rockshelter was discovered by the author on February 8, 1992 while traversing a large tract of land in the Clarion River valley owned by the Ochs Lumber Company of Lucinda, PA. It was a cold and foggy deep winter day in which the hike had become stalled in a large nearly impenetrable zone of rhododendron and mountain laurel. In an attempt to get back to the warm vehicle a compass bearing west along the base of the ridge was selected as the quickest route back. While along this course and looking south a large rock was spotted protruding from the hillside, which from the distance, appeared to have a protective overhang covering a habitation floor. Moving closer to the rock it became apparent that the overhang in fact would make a fairly comfortable temporary domicile. Upon reaching the underneath of the overhang a highly blackened, compacted, midden floor was evident. It did not take long to find numerous ceramic rims of McFate Incised pottery and two Madison like projectiles laying on the surface. One large McFate rim section was found standing up along the back wall of the site. These finds would mark the initial discovery of the Dutch Hill Rockshelter.
Realizing the importance of the discovery the Ochs Lumber Company was immediately contacted to discuss the possibility of an excavation. Permission was granted by Henry Ochs and the investigation would begin in early spring of 1993. The field work would be conducted primarily by two individuals, Eric P. Young of Fertigs, PA and the author. At the time of the investigation both Young and the author were employed by the USDA Allegheny National Forest as the Marienville and Ridgway Ranger District Archaeologists.
Eric Young of the Marienville Ranger District USDA prepares to go to work
A map and a grid system was devised by Young and put to use. The grid was based on 1 meter by 1 meter units with the central unit being designation N100 E100. An elevational datum was also established, placed into a rock found at or around the 500 meter elevation to record all opening level elevations, all significant artifacts and all natural landforms such as rocks, driplines, terrace dropoffs, etc. Some units were flat while others varied greatly in elevation. With the map and grid established metal pins were used to mark the boundary edges of each unit. These were subsequently enclosed in a thick yellow construction grade nylon string. When excavation began the site was excavated generally in 10 cm intervals although 5 cm intervals were used in sensitive areas such as deeper midden deposits. All significant artifacts were point provenienced based on location within the unit by northings, eastings and by elevation below datum, which was tied into the actual elevation of the particular quadrant of the unit. All artifacts found were listed on the unit form accession sheet and bagged in plastic or paper bags. All units and features were mapped. Numerous soil, wood and C14 samples were collected and noted on the unit form. Rocks found in situ while excavating were mapped, measured and then removed. All soil excavated was passed through 1/4 inch mesh screen and soils found in the upper level were sifted through small window screen mesh to examine for the smallest of remains. Soil samples were also brought back to the lab for float analysis.
About half way through the investigation the Ochs Lumber Company sold the large tract of land that contained the site to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The Conservancy was kind enough to grant permission to continue the excavation and to both of these organizations our thanks is acknowledged.
The following details the results of the findings at Dutch Hill.
Dutch Hill (36JE132) rock shelter is located 2 miles east of the village of Belltown in the northern portion of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. This region of northwestern Pennsylvania is unglaciated and included in the Allegheny High Plateau Section of the Appalachian Plateau Province.
Looking north from the rockshelter into the Clarion River valley below
The site is situated on a wooded hillside bench that directly overlooks the Clarion River valley below. The lone north facing overhang is positioned along the 500m, 1640' elevation contour, some 122m, 400 feet above the valley floor. The main locus is surrounded by a number of minor boulders and vertical walls that act to protect the site from the elements. Bedrock at this particular elevation is Pennsylvania in age (c. 280-325 my), Pottsville formation, and is likely of the Olean sandstone and conglomerate variety (Edmunds et al 1979).
Excavation of hearth
By comparison to many rock shelters found throughout the Clarion River valley Dutch Hill is a relatively small locus (see figure 2). The protective portion of the overhang covers only c. 19 square meters or 62 square feet, of living space. The back wall measures approximately 8m, 26.2' from east to west, while from the drip line to the back wall some 3.5 m, 11.4' of space is present. The ceiling height varies from east to west along the face of the shelter. Along the eastern portion of the site the ceiling becomes as high as 3m, 10'. In the west, talus slope has filled in much of the overhang resulting in a low ceiling measuring only 1.2m, 4' in height. Overall the ceiling height of the rock shelter averages around 2.13m or c. 7'.
Although the overhang is oriented to the north the site would have been a comfortable location for weary travelers. During the early morning the interior portion of the overhang is well lit, receiving sunlight from the east and southeast. This assists in drying out the damp habitation floor which is often cool and wet with early morning dew. As the typical hot summer day progresses the protective portion of the overhang would then block the direct light of the mid day sun thus leaving the interior portion of the rock shelter dry and comfortable. Although the site was not likely chosen as a habitation based solely on orientation of overhang it is however worth noting that north faced overhangs, especially when open to the east and southeast prove to be comfortable domiciles especially during the hot summer and early fall of the year. It must also be noted that water sources are abundant on the hillside within close proximity to the site. The nearest spring is located approximately 10m, 33', west of the main site area and produces a fairly constant water flow year round.
Perennial spring located near rockshelter in cluster of rhododendron
A small sample of artifacts was recovered from the site including lithics, ceramics, and bone.
Lithics: A total of 570 chipped stone artifacts were recovered. The vast majority of these items including projectiles, knives, drills, scrapers, and other tools were manufactured from semi localized lithic material gathered as glacial outwash and found along the Allegheny River. There are also examples of some more localized cherts that may belong to the Vanport Siliceous Shale varieties described as Jefferson County chert (Burkett 2001). There is a coarse lithic material that is black to almost dark blue in color that produces an earthy smell when it is breathed on. This may be a local argillaceous shale. Exotic lithics include possibly Coshocton chert and one projectile base was manufactured of a chalcedony that is likely of Flint Ridge origin.
Archaic projectiles including Brewerton types, Lehigh Broadspear, and Lamoka like
Corner notched Brewerton in situ
Late Woodland points
Small Madison like projectile in situ
Chipped stone tools
Various small drills, a scraper, and a chert blank manufactured from Vanport a/k/a Jefferson County chert
McFate Incised rims
A total of six hundred twenty three (623) ceramic artifacts were recovered during excavation of the rock shelter. For the purpose of this study only those sherds that were considered to be of research value were examined. Sherds that were considered two small (<. 1 cm by 1 cm) or too badly deteriorated (spalls) were removed from the sample leaving the total sample universe to include four hundred eighty one (481) sherds. Included in this total were, thirty five (35) rim sherds, four hundred sixty three (443) base, body and neck sherds, and three (3) pipe bowl fragments. From this assemblage as many as twenty eight (28) distinctive vessels could be identified. Eighteen (18) vessels were identified by rim sherds alone while another ten (10) vessels were identified by examining collar base and mid-section segments, neck and body sherds, and by tempering agents.
The study began by assigning each sherd a unique catalog number to aid in identification during analysis. With a number assigned many steps initiated in the examination could be repeated produce more accurate results. In this portion of the study each ceramic was categorized by assigned a general description such as cord marked body sherd, plain body sherd, basal sherd, rim, neck sherd, etc. Measurements were taken by using calipers to obtain readings in millimeters. If the sherd was a rim measurements were taken along the lip, sub lip and at the furthest extent of the ceramic sherd. Body sherds were typically measured on opposite ends (e.g. right and left sides) of the sherd.
The collection was then sorted on the basis of temper and the various ceramics were categorized by the particular paste group that they conformed. This was not always an easy task. It became quickly apparent that in many instances the tempering agent had long since leached from sherd. This was especially true of the shell and limestone tempered examples. By examining the sorting of the paste along the edge of the sherd characteristic of the leached tempering agent could be distinguished. Crushed leached limestone could be identified by the presence of angular and sub angular voids were the limestone had leached. This is in direct contrast to shell tempered pottery which exhibited a platy appearance along the edge of the sherd and often exhibited round shallow voids on the exterior of the sherd were a piece of crushed shell had leached. Also, shell tempered ceramics are in general, lighter than those sherd tempered with the other aplastic agents found in the sample.
Cordage twist patterns were also determined during this phase of the study. Percentages of final cordage twist patterns were recorded by examining the positive impressions of weft slant patterns. This was done by placing a piece of modeling clay across the exterior surface of the sherd and then recording, either S and Z or both S and Z weft slant patterns, or by noting an indeterminate category. In those instances where a particular sherd or sherds exhibited both S and Z patterns, each category received a count. If a clear distinction could not be made of the pattern the sherd received an indeterminate designation. Percentages of cord twist patterns were calculated by type variety (i.e. McFate and Chautauqua) and by temper to examine for potential cultural variations.
Following a period of cross-mending the second phase of the study consisted of examining the reconstructed vessel segments. Unique vessels were sorted into lots and assigned a vessel number. In this part of the study individual vessel characteristics, such as collar height, orifice diameters and method of manufacture were studied. Motif patterns were drawn and colors of vessels were recorded using the Munsell color charts. This portion of the study contained certain limitations in that only a small percentage of the collection could be assigned to particular vessel lot as numerous body sherds were simply too undiagnostic of each other to categorize.
McFate Incised rim, collar, and neck section
VESSEL TYPE DESCRIPTIONS DUTCH HILL CERAMICS
Tentative Type: McFate Incised and McFate Incised Variants (See Figure 3, 4 and 5)
Type varieties: Incised collar, possibly incised rim
Number of vessels represented: 11 (See: Table 2)
Vessels by temper type: limestone 7 vessels; shell 2 vessels; limestone/shell mix: 1 vessel; quartz grit 1 vessel
General description and shape: Utilitarian cooking jars and storage containers likely present in the site sample. The typical vessel exhibits an incised, medium high to high bulbous collar with a slightly constricted neck attached to a globular body. Smaller incised cups and bowls (non collared specimens) may be present in the sample. The incised ceramics represent the largest vessels found in the Dutch Hill sample being larger in overall size and in overall thickness of the vessel walls by comparison to the non decorated and typically non-collared (Chautauqua) ceramics.
Method of manufacture: According to Johnson (1999) McFate vessels were constructed by the paddle and anvil method of manufacture by joining and malleating small slabs rather than coils. Slab and anvil ceramics tend to break in sharp fractures which is characteristic of the Dutch Hill sample. This contrasts greatly as ceramics manufactured by coiling often separate along coil slips. The tongue and groove like appearance of coil breaks were not viewed in the Dutch Hill sample. Slab and anvil construction can also be identified by relic cord marking which was visible on a number of spalled sherds examined from the sample. During the manufacture of the typical pot clay fillets were continually added to thicken the vessel walls. As fillets were added each successive layer was impressed by the cord wrapped paddle. Sherds that have disintegrated along the final exterior vessel wall often expose relict cord marking underneath what had once been the vessels exterior surface (see figure 3, right side, center).
Once the bowl was complete a collar was then added. Collars were made separately and molded on to the neck of the vessel. Many of the collar segments in the Dutch Hill sample tend to break at this juncture.
Temper and Paste: Four (4) distinctive tempering agents were employed by the McFate potters at Dutch Hill.. In varying percentages crushed limestone (60.42%), limestone and shell mixture (30.73%), shell (06%) and quartz grit (03%) aplastics were identified in the sample (see: Table 1). The limestone and shell tempered aplastics appear well sorted with inclusions comprising around 10 to 20% of the paste, perhaps as high as 25% in some limestone tempered examples. Both shell and limestone tempering agents exhibit good structuring as they are well mixed. Both aplastics seem to be an improvement over crushed quartz. The quartz grit tempered aplastics appear to be the weakest form of ceramic paste when compared to the other aplastic varieties. Crushed quartz fragments formed approximately 15% of the paste matrix and by adding crushed quartz inclusions that range in size from <1 mm to 4mm and generally average around 1.5 mm the paste became friable and structurally weak. The majority of the quartz grit tempered sherds are in poor condition and many have spalled in two. As is most often the case the tempering agent in the majority of the sherds has long since leached from view. Limestone tempering can thus be identified irregular voids located where angular and sub angular limestone fragments, less than 1mm in size, have leached out. Shell tempered ceramics were identified by the plat like appearance or sorting of the temper witnessed along the edge of the sherd and those sherds that exhibited both limestone and shell inclusions in the paste generally exhibit plate like structuring similar to shell near the middle or interior of the sherd with sporadic angular and sub-angular voids where the limestone has leached.
Surface finish: Cord marking was typically applied in vertical orientation (perpendicular to the lip) across the vessel from base to sub lip during construction of the vessel. This was done prior to any smoothing or the addition of any decoration. Partial wiping of the neck region and collar face occasionally occurred. Many of the smooth over cord marked vessel exhibit remnant cord marking visible on a number of sherds. Occasionally collar faces exhibited obliquely stamped cord marking which may represent a decorative preference to the vertically paddled collar face or simply the position in which the potter held the vessel while malleating the rim. Interior surfaces were for the most part smooth with some irregularities from the anvil. One sherd exhibited an incision along the interior wall.
Cordage Twist: The percentages of negative final S and Z twist cordage impressions were calculated for the McFate phase ceramics. A preference for final S twist cordage was evident in the sample. Eighty seven (87%) percent of the McFate phase ceramics exhibited final S twist cordage. Only thirteen (13%) percent exhibited final Z twist cordage (See: table 3 ).
Decoration and motif: Decoration on the McFate phase vessels was typically etched over cord marking and was usually confined to the collar face although trailing onto the neck region occurred on some specimens. The decoration consisted of alternating bands of incising modified by rows of punctates and incising. Two patterns were exhibited in the sample. 1). The most popular motif pattern consisted of three alternating bands of incision that encircled the collar face and consisted of opposed right and left oblique incising separated by horizontal rows of incising (see: fig. 6, a-p; figure 7, a-h; figure 8, a,b; figure 9, a-e). This pattern was then further modified by the addition of encircling punctates placed along the sub lip of the rim and along the collar base. The punctates were typically larger along the exterior sub lip than the collar horizontal incisions with punctates along the sub lip and base of the collar. Basically the Dutch Hill motif is similar to the most basic form of the McFate motif (see: Johnson 1977: figure b) with the exception of additional rows of punctates along the exterior sub-lip of the rim and along the base of the collar. The most elaborate incised motif in the Dutch Hill sample exhibited (12) twelve rows of right and left oblique incisions separated by a row of (8) eight.
Decorated neck sherds
2). The only variation of the incised, punctate motif pattern was witnessed on one shell tempered collar section. The collar base was decorated by dentate thumbnail incisions instead of punctates (see fig. 7, i ).
Collars: The collars are described as medium high to high bulbous incipient collars (See: figure 10, a-b; Figure 14, a-e). The collar size was typically proportioned to the shape and size of the vessel representing approximately 1/3 of the vessel size. The neck, body and basal sections accounted for the remaining 2/3 of the vessel. The bulbous nature of the collar appears slightly convex and appears to be similar to the lower vessel of the compound vessel illustrated by (George 1997:40, figure 7) found at the Johnston site in Indiana County. The three largest restored collar segments found at Dutch Hill measured ca. 9.5cm , 3.75 inches, 6.86cm, 3.5 inches and 5.52 cm and 2 3/16 inches in height respectively. Necks appear slightly constricted and exhibit partial smoothing. Castellations may be present although somewhat discrete in nature and may best be described as low and rolling or slightly rounded. Effigies, lugs, handles and other appendages were not diagnostic of Dutch Hill ceramics.
McFate Incised rims
Rim and lip: The rim profiles of the McFate vessels were straight, slightly inverted or rarely, slightly everted (see: fig. 10, a-m ). The majority of the lips were rounded while others were flat and square in profile. All had been smoothed.
Average Lip thickness: 5.72 mm; Range: 4.49 to 7.17mm
Body Wall Thickness: Average: 5.96mm; Range: 5.32mm - 7.08mm
Base: Round, globular in form. Repair holes were frequently witnessed on basal sections.
Color range: The majority of the ceramics were various shades of brown and grays. Munsell descriptions ranged from 7.5YR3/1, 5/3, 6/3 dark brown, brown and light brown to, 7.5YR7/4 pink, 7.5YR4/1 gray to 10YR3/2 dark grayish brown and 10YR6/2 light grayish brown.
Chautauqua Cordmarked rims
Tentative Type: Chautauqua Cordmarked (See: figure 11, a-n). Number of vessels represented: 17 (See: Table 2).
Type Varieties: 1. Cordmarked, collarless (16 vessels); 2. Cordmarked, collared (1 vessel)
Tempering agents: shell: 17 vessels
General description and shape: Typically a “plain” ceramic ware comprised of cups, bowls and jar forms. Vessels are largely undecorated and usually collarless although the Dutch Hill sample included one Chautauqua vessel with a collar that measured 1.5 inches in height. Decoration is virtually non existent on the neck, body and sub lip, but occurs in the form of lip treatment applied by paddle edge stamping and impressing on the lip of the rim. Vessels are most often shell tempered and small in overall size including height and in general thickness of the vessel walls.
Method of Manufacture: Modeling, paddle and anvil construction (see: description of McFate-Incised).
Temper and paste: Well sorted, highly compacted shell tempered paste. Crushed shell typically comprised approximately 20-25% of the paste. Virtually all of the Chautauqua like ceramics were tempered with crushed mussel shell (See: Table 1). An occasional body sherd appeared to exhibit a mixture of crushed limestone and shell. None of these examples were rim sherds so they may or may not be Chautauqua ware. Limestone and shell tempered ceramics have not been formally described as being a variety of Chautauqua ware.
Surface finish: Two types were identified: cord marked and smooth over cord marked. No real preference for one surface treatment or another; approximately 50% of the sherds exhibit cord marking and 50% exhibit smooth over cord marking. The cord marking was applied vertically in orientation across the entire vessel from base to sub lip over the entire exterior surface. In many instances cord marking was still visible on the smoothed over specimens. Interior surfaces were always smooth.
Cordage Twist: The Chautauqua Cordmarked ceramics also exhibited a preference for final S twist cordage Eighty two (82%) percent of the Chautauqua ceramic exhibited final S twist slant patterns while eighteen (18%) percent exhibited final Z twist patterns (See: table 3). It must be noted that many of the sherds exhibiting final Z twist patterns are from one particular vessel.
Decoration: Vessels generally lack any form of decoration per se. When decoration occurs it is typically in the form of lip treatment applied by the edge of a cord wrapped paddle along the top lip. In one instance the exterior sub lip was impressed by single obliquely applied cord along the vessel rim . Other vessels exhibited scalloped lips also formed by paddle edge (see: figure 12, a-n ). Two of the scalloped rims exhibit channeling which may have been caused accidentally while turning or smoothing the pot.
Rim and lip: Rim profiles are straight, inverted and everted. The largest rim in the sample appears to be tulip shaped in profile. Lip forms are slightly rounded to square, most are splayed (see figure 13, a-m). The majority of the lip regions had been smoothed while others received treatment by paddle edge stamping. Occasional the lip had been impressed by the edge of the cord wrapped paddle forming a scalloped like top lip on three rims.
Average lip thickness: 5.44mm; Range: 3.79mm to 7.05mm.
Neck: Slightly constricted.
Body wall thickness: Average: 4.61mm; Range: 3.32mm - 5.42mm
Color range: Generally lighter in color than the McFate variety. Colors ranged from 7.5YR2/1 black to 7.5YR3/2 dark brown, 7.5YR7/2, 7/3, 5YR7/4 pink gray, pink.
Three fragments of a pipe were recovered during excavations at Dutch Hill (see photo below). Two of the fragments were found on the surface of unit N100 E100 and assigned a field collection number of FC-5. The third fragment was found just outside a hearth in Unit N101 E102 at an elevation of 499.20. This would place the artifact in the first 10cm level in that quadrant of the unit. The unit is located on the old dripline and that portion of the unit is stepped so elevations vary.
The three pipe fragments all cross mend and all are portion of the pipe bowl. No stem fragments were recovered. The bowl measures some 34 mm in length and is as wide as 19. mm near the top. The entire keel shaped pipe fragment measures approximately 50 mm in length. The exterior surface of the bowl has been incised with punctuates which likely represent some type of bird or animal. Some have suggested the pipe is a bird effigy platform pipe while the shape and design also mimic a beaver tail. The backside of the bowl is smooth and the chamber is still blackened from use. The color ranges from light brown to brown. The pipe does not appear to have a tempering agent added.
Ceramic effigy pipe fragments
The rockshelter is one of many such sites found throughout the Allegheny Plateau and in the Clarion River drainage in general. That is small temporary way stations located on trails and above river roads that were occupied for short period of time and seasonally.
Looking east, typical surroundings at the primative site
The earliest occupation at Dutch Hill occurred during the Archaic period as projectiles similar to Brewerton forms have been recovered. Brewerton projectiles typify the Late Archaic period in the upper Ohio valley circa. 4000 to 1800 B.C. In Armstrong County at the Brown Towing Company site (36AR188) located along the banks of the Allegheny River near Kittanning, George and Davis (1986) have radiometrically dated a Brewerton component to 3330 B.C. +/- 170 years.
Brewerton types are widely distributed throughout the upper Allegheny and adjacent regions. According to Ritchie (1961) the Brewerton type is distributed throughout all of New York state. Dragoo (1959) also noted the type was a dominate type found throughout the upper Ohio valley on sites attributed to the Laurentian. In Johnson Richardson and Bonhert’s (1979) regional study of northwestern Pennsylvania Brewerton types were easily the most common projectile type identified. At the nearby Split Rockshelter (36EL4) excavated by Herbstritt and Love (1975), Brewerton side notched projectiles were the most common projectile recovered accounting for (24/67) 35.82% of all projectile types. All of the Brewerton types combined accounted for (37/67) or 55.22% of the entire site sample.
Following Brewerton the next earliest point recovered was similar to the Lamoka projectile type. In New York State this projectile type dates from around 3500-2500 B.C. (Ritchie 1961: 29-30, 1969a:31-32). In the upper Susquehanna Valley a later Lamoka Phase occupation was dated to around 2570 to 1800 B.C. (Funk and Rippeteau 1977: 30). Recent excavations along the West Branch of the Susquehanna at Allenwood, PA have produced radiocarbon dates for a Lamoka occupation from 3700 to 4000B.P. (Wall 2000: 10). Lamoka projectiles have been found by the author at Ham’s Rockshelter (36EL66) in the Clarion River valley and at Indian Camp run (36FO65)along the main stem of the Allegheny River. Lantz (1982:41) notes that the Lamoka Phase was well established in the upper Allegheny region at sites such as Cold Spring (30CA10), Lyn Beach (30CA11) and Quaker Bridge (30CA6). Lamoka projectiles have been recovered from the Buckaloons site (36WA95) (Lantz 1975: 6) and in many rockshelters within the Allegheny National Forest (Lantz 1982:41). Lamoka projectiles have also been recovered from Fishbasket (36AR134) on the Redbank Creek in Armstrong County and from Wadding (36AR21) (George and Bassinger 1975) and Split Rockshelter (36EL4) (Herbstritt and Love 1975) in Armstrong and Elk County respectively.
Following Lamoka, the next earliest point recovered at Dutch Hill was similar to the Late Archaic/Terminal Archaic Lehigh Broadspear as defined by Witthoft (1953). According to Funk (1993: 196) Lehigh Broadspears are closely related to Snook Kill if not regional cognates in the same Late Archaic Tradition (H.C. Kraft personal communication 1989; Witthoft 1953) and the Koens-Crispin points of the Delaware Valley. Koens-Crispins have been dated to ca. 1800-1600 B.C. in New Jersey and the Delaware Valley (Regensberg 1971; Kinsey, et al 1972). Snook Kills were dated to 1470 B.C. +/-100 years at the type site in the upper Hudson Valley (Ritchie 1958) and to 1670 B.C. +/- 130 years at the Kuhr No. 1 site (see Funk 1993: 196). Justice (1987) considers the Lehigh Broadspear to be a correlate of the Genesee cluster. Witthoft did not have available a 14C chronology and stratified sites were still lacking to base his hypothesis on. Witthoft assumed on a formal basis that the oldest of the broadspear traditions was the Susquehanna Soapstone Complex represented by Susquehanna broad points, drills, and soapstone pots. Two other complexes the Perkiomen Broad and the Lehigh Broad were believed to have developed from the Susquehanna Complex. The related Frost Island phase became the regional equivalent of the Susquehanna Soapstone Complex (Ritchie and Funk 1973). Ritchie eventually delineated the Snook Kill Phase in eastern New York as a terminal Archaic derivative of the Lehigh Complex (Ritchie 1965a: 134-141). He would also later reverse Witthofts original sequence placing the Lehigh, Snook Kill and Perkiomen Complexes relatively early and Frost Island relatively late (Ritchie and Funk 1973: 71).
According to Witthoft (1971) the Lehigh Broadspears homeland appears to be the area of the Lehigh and upper Delaware Rivers. Projectiles of this nature do not seem to reach the Wyoming valley or the eastern drainage of the North Branch of the Susquehanna. Lantz (1982: 42) has noted that the Broadspear Tradition and representative point types have been identified in western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania and are recorded along the Allegheny River many associated with Steatite. He also notes that these broadspear producing folk were extensively using rock shelters at this time and reports that in the Clarion River drainage the Ellis Farm II (36EL32) produced Transitional material. At the Split Rock Shelter located a few miles upriver from Dutch Hill (Herbstritt and Love 1975:33) have identified two projectiles that conform to Ritchies (1961) definition of Snook Kill, and note that the types appears to be coeval with Witthoft’s Lehigh Broad. Following the Transistional/Terminal Archaic occupation it would be many years before Dutch Hill was revisited. There is minor evidence of a Middle Woodland occupation with the presence of a base of a possible Snyders like point manufactured from Flint Ridge chalcedony. This is but one artifact. The most prevalent occupation of the site would occur during the Late Woodland/Late Prehistoric period as two types of ceramic wares denoting this period were recovered including McFate Incised and Chautauqua Cordmarked.
McFate Ceramics found at the Dutch Hill rock shelter share affinities with a number of related types that share a common temporal position and a nearby proximity. Types such as Monongahela Cordmarked and Incised, Reeve Opposed, Funk Incised, Shultz Incised, Lancaster Incised, Richmond Incised and the McFate-Kalgren-Quiggle-Bell ceramics. Interestingly the McFate vessels from the Dutch Hill site strongly resemble Shultz Incised vessels which according to Whithoft (1959: 50) likely dated to A.D. 1580. This fact may indicate that the Dutch Hill vessels are related to the so called McFate-Kalgren phase as defined by Herbstritt and Kent (1990). They also strongly resemble some Johnston Phase Monongahela ceramics. The largest vessel from the Dutch Hill sample is nearly identical to the photograph of the compound vessel (see: George 1997, page 40 bottom vessel) from the Johnston site in Indiana County. McFate Incised was originally described by Mayer-Oakes (1955) in his regional study entitled Prehistory of the Upper Ohio Valley; An Introductory Archaeological Study. The ceramic type was named for the type station, the McFate site located in Crawford County. Mayer-Oakes (1955) considered McFate Incised to be a regional variant of Monyock ware and described the type as being found primarily in the upper Allegheny drainage at such sites as McFate and Westfield in Chautauqua County, New York. The major difference distinguishing between McFate Incised and Monongahela Incised was that McFate Incised exhibited incising over cordmarking while Monongahela Incised exhibited incising placed over a smooth surface (Mayer-Oakes 1955:204).
The temporal position for McFate Incised occurred ca. A.D 1450-1580. According to Johnson (1999:8) McFate Incised ceramics were modeled after medium to medium high collared Pound Blank prototypes which were described by MacNeish (1952) as Neutral-Wenro pottery types that appeared on proto-Erie sites along the Lake Erie plain in the latter half of the fourteenth century.
McFate ceramics found at the Eastwall site (33Ab41) have been dated to, A.D 1530+/-105 years (Brose 1994: 168), which according to, Johnson (1999: 7), would calibrate to A.D. 1454. George (1997) has recently obtained a date of A.D. 1570+/-50 years which according to Johnson (1999) calibrates to A.D. 1483. Based on the complexity of the motif of the Dutch Hill ceramics and the height of the collar some of the latter occupations at Dutch Hill rock shelter would likely have occurred as late or later than George’s radio carbon assay.
McFate Incised is commonly found at site locations throughout the many tributaries of the central and upper Allegheny River, along the Lake Erie plain, and eastward into the upper West Branch of the Susquehanna drainage. According to Johnson (1999:7) the distribution of McFate Incised is centered on the glaciated Allegheny Plateau and particularly in the French Creek Valley of Western Pennsylvania. It was in the French Creek valley and other locations throughout the glaciated portion of the Allegheny Plateau that the McFate people constructed year round permanent horticultural (Johnson et al 1979:88) villages. From these villages individuals would travel abroad conducting their daily and seasonal activity including hunting and gathering, and trade or commerce. During these seasonal forays individuals producing McFate Incised visited the Dutch Hill rock shelter and a number of related sites found in the upper Clarion River valley and surrounding region.
Chautuaqua Cordmarked was first described by (Guthe 1958) in his monograph entitled, the Late Prehistoric Occupation of Southwestern New York. The pottery is found at a number of sites including the type station Westfield and Burning Spring located in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties in southwestern New York (Guthe 1958). Chautauqua ware was described as a shell tempered variety which was often accompanied by a grit tempered counter-part typed as Westfield Cordmarked. Schock (1974) reported on a number of sites in southwestern New York in which Chautauqua Cordmarked was found to be the dominant ceramic type. The results of this study were reported in his Phd. dissertation entitled, the Chautauqua Phase and other Late Woodland Sites in Southwestern New York. In this work, Schock (1974), coined the term Chautauqua Phase which was said to represent the latest prehistoric occupation in southwestern New York. In the early stages of the Chautauqua Phase, cordmarked pottery predominates before being gradually replaced by simple stamped wares. Johnson (1999:3) believes this change occurred at some time during the late sixteenth century. Simple stamped Chautauqua phase ceramics are not included in the Dutch Hill sample and are currently unknown in the upper reaches of the Clarion River drainage. The lack of simple stamped pottery is likely indicative that sites located in the inner portion of the Allegheny Plateau ceased to be occupied prior to the transformation of cord marked surface finishes to those exhibiting simple stamping.
Chautauqua Cordmarked is often found on proto-Erie sites on the Lake Erie Plain and in the Upper Allegheny River valley (Johnson 1999:2) and on sites that produce Neutral-Wenro pottery types Guthe (1958). In many early reports the type is often described as being related to Monongahela Cordmarked and typically confused as one and the same. The grit tempered variety, Westfield Cordmarked, is thought to be somewhat related to Mahoning Cordmarked and Ripley Cordmarked (Guthe 1958).
The temporal position for Chautauqua ware is from ca. A.D. 1200 to 1580. Chautauqua like ceramics were initially produced some two hundred prior to the manufacture of the first collared McFate vessels. According to (Johnson 1993:3) Chautauqua ware first appears in the French Creek and upper Beaver drainages ca. A.D. 1200 and would later become the dominant ceramic variety produced on the glaciated Allegheny Plateau during the middle of the Late Woodland period before being rapidly replaced by McFate Incised. Chautauqua cordmarked ceramics would continue to be produced up until the mid to late sixteenth century when the glaciated Allegheny Plateau became abandoned (Johnson 1999:3).
According to Johnson (1999), the distribution of Chautauqua ware is centered on the glaciated portion of the Allegheny Plateau in northwestern Pennsylvania and adjacent southwestern New York. The ceramic type is the most common Late Woodland/Late Prehistoric ware found throughout the Clarion River and Tionesta Creek and has been identified from numerous rock shelters, upland open air campsites and stockades such as the McKinley Earthwork (36EL17) (Smith and Herbstritt 1976: 29).
Based on the results of this study it is suggested that the Dutch Hill ceramic assemblage is most closely related to Johnson’s (1994) Glaciated Allegheny Plateau tradition (GAP). The GAP tradition evidences the ceramic remains of what is likely to be related ethnic and social groups that lived in a broad territorial range on the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau and surrounding regions such as the Lake Erie Plain and unglaciated portion of the Allegheny Plateau.
Various ceramic types were produced by GAP tradition members. Types such as Chautauqua Cordmarked, Conemaugh Cordmarked, Mahoning Cordmarked and McFate Incised represent the ceramic remains of the GAP tradition potters detailed by Johnson (1994). Significant in Johnson’s study was the hypothesis that an in situ population evolved on the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau for at least 700 years which can be demonstrated by analyzing the percentages of final S twist ceramics found at stratified sites located on and around the plateau. While the various styles underwent change over time the one thing that remained consistent was the use of primarily final “S” twist cordage throughout the seven hundred year span suggesting cultural continuity.
It has been demonstrated by a number of researchers (see: Carr and Maslowski 1995:297); Johnson 1994; Maslowski 1984) that by examining percentages of final cord twistage that it is possible to identify territorial boundaries, suggest population replacements, examine the distribution of ethnic groups, etc. According to Maslowski (1996), the study of the manufacture of cordage is significant in that it is a process which is learned at a young age by modeling where a young person witnesses and learns from elder members of the group. The manufacture of cordage was said to be “the result of highly standardized, culture-specific motor habits. Such motor habits are learned at an early age and are transmitted from generation to generation within family groups or work groups. Cord twist patterns often have greater temporal continuity than decoration or environmentally influenced attributes such as stylistic decoration which is also specific to certain cultures. Decorative attributes such as an incised motif can change relatively quickly over time such as the change of a particular element in a motif such as the addition of a row of punctates. Twist patterns therefor are less resistant to change (idiosyncratic behavior) over time than other ceramic attributes such as decoration”.
This “S” twist population of the GAP is in direct contrast to the multitudes of final “Z” twisters found to the south in the Monongahela and Youghiogheny drainages of southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia and in the West Branch and lower Susquehanna River drainage during the same time period. Monongahela ceramics of southwestern Pennsylvania are predominantly final “Z” twist (Johnson et al 1989) while Quiggle site ceramics, Shenks Ferry ceramics and Susquehannock ceramics found in the Susquehanna drainage all exhibit final predominant Z twist cordage (per comm. Johnson 1994). Stewart Phase ceramics recovered in the Ohio drainage also exhibit final “Z” twist cordage. This likely excludes the Kalgren Phase or for that matter Kalgren-Quiggle-Bell Phase individuals as the manufacturers of the Dutch Hill ceramics. If these groups if evolved out of an earlier Shenks Ferry base they would be expected to produce significant percentages of final Z twist cordage. J.T. Herbstritt (per com 1994) has indicated that Kalgren exhibited around 50% “S” to “Z” twist cordage perhaps suggesting a mixed populous. This author believes that the drainage divide separating the Ohio River from the west branch of the Susquehanna served as a loose fitting cultural divide. S twisters resided to the west in the Ohio River drainage while Z twisters were located in the west branch of the Susquehanna. If Kalgren exhibits 50% S to Z twist cordage this may indicative that the drainage divide acted as a cultural and/or territorial boundary perhaps separating hunting grounds, tribal or ethnic regions, or in general terms, property boundaries.
Perhaps the most interesting characteristic of the Dutch Hill sample was the wide variety of tempering agents employed by the potters. The use of multiple temper types involves a certain amount of experimentation with ceramic technology. According to Rye (1981), “ ...changes in material can be made relatively easily if the properties are similar, but substituting materials with distinct behaviors will require altering the entire manufacturing process. Rye further states... “that for a successful change from quartz temper to beach sand would necessitate considerable experimentation with new firing techniques”. Similarly for the potters at Dutch Hill to change from shell tempering to limestone may have required a certain amount of experimentation or at best a slight change in daily activity. Instead of gathering fresh water bivalves along the larger drainages and in wetlands, sources of limestone would have to be located and then transported back to the rock shelter. This however may not have required much labor and was likely less labor intensive that a trip into the river valley. Vanport limestone outcroppings are found in Allegheny grouping, Pennsylvanian age bedrock that is exposed in the northeastern portion of the county (Miller 1934:435-439) within close walking distance to the site. The use of limestone may simply have been chosen due to availability and not necessarily due to a cultural change. George (1983:28) has noted in a similar setting that mussel shell was and still is very scarce in the area around the Gnagy site located in Somerset County. During the period in which Dutch Hill rock shelter was occupied, the Northern Hemisphere was experiencing the climactic degradation known as the Neo-Boreal or Little Ice Age which reached climax during the 16th century (Campbell and Campbell 1989). Johnson (1994) has discussed possible implications of such a climatic change to those dependant on agriculture to support a village. During this period it may simply have been the case that some species of freshwater bivalve simply did not thrive in the cooler conditions prevalent during this period.
The use of limestone and other forms of temper in McFate Assemblages is not unique to the Dutch Hill site. A number of rock shelters in the Clarion River valley produce ceramics of this sort including the Dog Hollow rock shelter, Ham’s rock shelter and Belmouth Run II rock shelter;. Elsewhere in the central Allegheny sub-basin, George (1975:9) examined a small sample of McFate Incised ceramics from the Wadding rock shelter, located along the Mahoning Creek in Armstrong County, and noted that at least some of the McFate ceramics found there exhibited limestone tempering. This is the first reference suggesting that some McFate ceramics were limestone tempered. Ken Burkett (1999) has described a number of limestone tempered vessels from the Fishbasket site located along the Redbank Creek. Konitski (196 ) mentions limestone tempered pottery being found at the State Road Ripple site, located a few miles down river from Dutch Hill in Clarion County, PA.
The use of limestone as a tempering agent may have been an idea borrowed from the Bell phase potters living in the West Branch of the Susquehanna valley. At the Bell site the earliest occupation was by Stewart Phase individuals that produced a small amount of limestone tempered pottery. According to Matlack (1992: 67) developmental changes took place with Shenks Ferry pottery and the use of crushed quartz temper was replaced by crushed shale and limestone. Witthoft (1971) was of the opinion that limestone temper was rarely used as a Shenks Ferry aplastic and at the time of his investigation was considered unknown in the Stewart Phase series. Both the Stewart Phase and the Fishbasket ceramics predate the Dutch Hill assemblage by a number of years. The appearance of Limestone tempered ceramics in the Clarion River valley during the end of the Late Prehistoric period may represent a period in time when shell tempered ceramics were gradually being replaced by limestone grit.
Only a small number of quartz grit tempered sherds were recovered from Dutch Hill. Two examples were sherds from a collared rim with incising. These ceramics may be closely related to Richmond Incised typed described by (MacNeish 1952:51) or some of the types previously discussed that are found in the Susquehanna drainage. The Chautauqua potters at Dutch Hill did not use crushed quartz although this form of tempering agent is commonly found throughout the Clarion River valley. This ceramic type is typically described as Westfield Cordmarked which according to (Guthe 1958:55) is somewhat similar to Mahoning Cordmarked and Ripley Corded. Based on the shape of the vessel, height of collar and decorative motif pattern a relative date has been suggested for the Dutch Hill assemblage. It is proposed that the ceramic assemblage dates from c. A.D. 1500 to 1580. Basically this time period suggests that Dutch Hill was occupied later than the McFate Site and was no longer used after the adoption, at least by the Chautauqua phase potters, of simple stamping as a form of surface treatment. No simple stamped pottery was found at Dutch Hill which come into use likely after A.D. 1580.
By examining changes in collar morphology and decoration through time we find the following. The basic motif of the Dutch Hill ceramics is similar to the basic motif found on McFate site ceramics (see: Johnson 1976: 59). The difference is that the Dutch Hill ceramics exhibit rows of punctates that have been added along the sub lip of the rim and along the collar base. McFate site vessels primarily only exhibit the etched motif, with only occasional punctates. The Elk County Earthworks exhibit the basic major motif and at times exhibit punctates along the collar base similar to the McFate site and similar to the Eastwall site (Johnson 1998) which was dated to A.D. 1530(calibrated to A.D 1454). Dentate incising is common according to Smith and Herbstritt (1976) at the Elk County Earthworks. Only one vessel at Dutch Hill exhibited dentate incising, the remainder exhibited the high bulbous collars with the fully modified motif pattern. This would suggest that the temporal position of Dutch Hill and the McKinley Earthwork overlapped at least for a short period of time. The dentate variety may be a slightly earlier decorative preference along the collar base than the punctate variety and may disappear in the upper Clarion drainage at the time of the abandonment of the McKinley Earthwork.
The collars on the Dutch Hill ceramics are slightly higher than those found at the McKinley Earthwork. This suggests Dutch Hill is somewhat later than the McKinley earthwork, which is the latest site in the Elk County earthwork cluster. The site is thought to date to the first half of the sixteenth century (per. com. J.T. Herbstritt 1992). Dutch Hill vessels exhibit punctates along the sub lip which is not found in samples from McFate, East Wall or McKinley, suggesting a later development in the motif pattern. And, since no simple stamped pottery was found in the Dutch Hill sample and has not been reported at least from the upper Clarion River valley, both Dutch Hill and the region may have ceased to be occupied at the onset of the Proto-Historic period circa. A.D. 1580.
One aberration in the Dutch Hill sample was the preference for use of rounded lips. The round lips are somewhat unique in that they are not a typical characteristic of McFate ceramics which typically exhibit square flat lips (Johnson 1999:4). Round lips are also not characteristic of Shenks Ferry ceramics which according to Witthoft and Farver (1952) when describing Shenks Ferry Incised and Lancaster Incised, typically exhibit square, flat and rarely rounded lips.
Interestingly, round lips are typical of later Shultz phase Susquehannock ceramics. Witthoft (1959: 50) postulated that the Schultz site was occupied at around A.D. 1580 and therefore would not surprising to find close parallels between Schultz incised and the McFate ceramics from Dutch Hill which may have a terminal date that is contemporaneous in time with the Schultz phase. The Dutch Hill ceramics with rounded lips may simply reflect ideas borrowed from (Kalgren Phase)other potters they interacted with while conducting business abroad.
Along with the large assortment of ceramic remains the McFate-Chautauqua phase folk also left behind a number of small triangular projectiles. These projectile forms are similar to the Madison type defined originally by (Scully 1951). The mean length of the Dutch Hill sample was 20.84mm while the range was 18.06 to 26.89mm. The mean width was 14.88mm measured at the base with the range from 11.79 to 18.15mm. Mean thickness was 3.76mm with a range of 3.28-4.42mm.
According to Scully (1951) the sizes from the sample he examined ranged from ½ to 2 3/8 inches (13 mm to 60.6 mm) with the average being around 1 inch (25.5mm). Ritchie (1961) examined a sample of 100 Madison like projectiles from one site in New York and found a range of ¾ (19.1mm) to 1 and 9/16 of an inch (39.75mm) with the majority falling between 1 and 1 1/4 inches (25.5mm to 31.9mm). Thickness varied from 1/16 (1.6mm) to 3/16 (4.9mm) with the majority being 1/8 (3.3mm) of an inch in thickness. Lounsberry (1997) examining Madison projectiles found at the Smith site, an upland stockaded hilltop fort located in Allegany County, NY, noted a mean length of 25.72 mm with a range of between 19 to 31mm. The mean width was 14.57mm while the range was 5 to 21 mm. An examination of triangular projectiles from the predominately Mead Island Tradition Indian (circa. A.D. 850-1250) Camp Run site indicates much larger projectiles were being produced by these folk. The average maximum length of triangular projectiles was 26.53 mm with the maximum width 18.37 mm and the average thickness at 4.07 mm.
Pestle and anvil stone
Hammerstones, celts, celt frags
In conclusion the Dutch Hill rockshelter may be viewed as the typical rockshelter way station found throughout the region. The site was occupied sporadically and seasonally as early as the Late Archaic period when the site was initially discovered by the hunter-gatherer Laurentian Brewerton folk. The site received repeated usage in the Late Woodland/Late Prehistoric era by members of the McFate-Chautauqua tradition this observation based on ceramic remains and predominant final “s” twist cordage preserved on the exterior surface of the ceramic vessel walls. The small amount of material culture left behind by a small populous demonstrates the temporary nature of the rockshelter site. The small number of points likely suggests they were perhaps lost or left on site purposefully in anticipation of a future visit. McFate like ceramics manufactured with limestone temper are not entirely common in the Clarion river valley and this influence may be derived from the Bell Phase potters or groups in the Mahoning drainage of SW Pennsylvania. While the site did not produce evidence of numerous components spanning the entire era of human occupation of the Ohio river valley it is hoped that the data presented herein as the typical site will be of use to the archaeological community.
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Brose, David S.
Campbell Celina., and Ian D. Campbell
Carr, Christopher and Robert F. Maslowski
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1998 Chautauqua Cord-Marked, McFate Incised and Conemaugh Cord-Impressed Ceramic Types and the Terminal Late Woodland Period McFate Phase of the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Paper presented in the Northern Ohio’s Late Prehistory and Protohistory Symposium at the 1998 Midwest Archaeological Conference, Muncie, Indiana, October 21-24, 1998.
1999 Tracing the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Tradition: A Suggested Culture History Sequence for the Late Woodland Period (ca. A.D. 1000-1600) in the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau Section of Northwestern Pennsylvania (Five Years Later). Paper Presented at the Sixty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Brookville, Pennsylvania.
Johnson, W.C., J.B. Richardson III, and A.S. Bonhert
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Witthoft, John and W. Fred Kinsey III
ANDREW J. MYERS 1194 Galusha Rd. Brockway, PA 15824
Dutch Hill Rockshelter Preliminary Report of Findings |
An Examination of Late Prehistoric McFate Trail Locations |
Testing at Indian Camp Run No. 2 |
Upland Bedrock Mortars and the Significance of Acorn as a Dietary Supplement in Marginal Landscapes |
Shenks Ferry Material Culture in the Ohio River Valley |
An Exploration of the McFate Taskscape: A Case for Compromise|
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