Madison Living - Kentucky Winter 2018 - Page 5

Story and photos by Kim Kobersmith A t first glance, the Native American display at the Archaeology Lab in Berea College’s new science building appears ordinary. Three similar-sized display cases stand next to each other with shards of chert (a hard rock), pointed blades and the heads of stone implements. The arrangement in the right case has artifacts with tidy labels listing the person who found them, where and when. The case on the left has interesting- looking pieces but no labels or other contextual information, but does have a simple label indicating “No provenance.” The people who collected these pieces did not archive their origin or source. The center case is a bit disconcerting; full of plastic artifact bags heaped with piles of flint pieces, the sign simply states, “Looted.” Perhaps, when it comes to early history in Madison County, there is a lot more we don’t know than we do. According to Historical Archaeologist and Berea College professor Broughton Anderson, Madison County has a rich indigenous presence, reaching from the Archaic period over 3,000 years ago to Fort Ancient cultures in 1000 CE (Common Era) to the more contemporary Shawnee peoples. At one time, there were 50 burial mounds scattered throughout the county. Only five of these burial mounds still exist. What also exists are many questions, and some answers. Don’t pocket the past Anderson and other archaeologists are concerned about the information we have lost about our history and the tenuous hold on what remains. As the display in the Archaeology Lab illustrates, some people find interesting artifacts while hiking or farming and keep them, or don’t note where and when they found it. Daniel Boone National Forest has a similar concern; one of their initiatives requests people Continued on page 7 WINTER 2018 Madison Living 5