Feature: Kentucky Archaeological Study

The Judd site (15Cu111) was a small habitation site in Cumberland County. The site was situated along two toe slopes between the base of the upland ridges on the east and a marshy intermittent tributary of Lewis Creek on the west. This creek is a small tributary of the Cumberland River.

Diagnostic projectile points and ceramics recovered from the Judd site and radiocarbon dates obtained from three large pits, are suggestive of repeated occupation of this locality from Early Archaic to Late Woodland times, with the most intensive use occurring during Early Archaic (projectile points) and Middle Archaic (radiocarbon dates). Based on the large number of Kirk Corner Notched and Big Sandy Side Notched projectile points recovered from the site, one would think that the Judd site was initially/primarily occupied more than 8,000 years ago. Yet, the association of a majority of the Kirk Corner Notched and Big Sandy Side Notched projectile points with ca. 7,500 BP radiocarbon dates raises questions concerning when these tools entered the archaeological record.

The Judd site is distinguished from contemporary late Early Archaic/early Middle Archaic sites by the association of deeply site poles with Middle Archaic pits that have diameters greater than two meters, and depths below surface of more than one meter. The northeast-southwest orientation of the largest/deepest poles not only distinguishes the Judd site from its neighbors but raises questions concerning the site’s function. The association of poles with Middle Archaic features suggested that some may have functioned as sacred/marker poles, similar to those documented at later Woodland, Fort Ancient, and Mississippian sites. It also raises the possibility that pole ceremonialism has a much longer history in the eastern Woodlands than previously thought, and archaeologists working in the region need to be on the look-out for these types of features.