Madison Living - Kentucky Winter 2018 - Page 7

One of several artifacts on this page discovered around Madison County. Natural steps ascend the heart-pounding climb to Indian Fort Lookout. Pieces from a looted site. level when up on the ridge. It is part of the Berea College forest and was first studied archaeologically by geology professor Wilbur G. Burroughs in the 1920s. One of his explorations centered on two stretches of walls in areas with panoramic views and piles of rocks. “Burroughs made some rash statements about the area, including naming it a fort, without sufficient evidence,” Anderson said. “His conclusions, though, were really a product of his time.” In his writings, he identifies the walls as part of a protective fort and piles of rocks as weapons used by the Native Americans to hurl at their enemies. In the 1980s, the site was re-excavated by archaeologists. The walls were no longer standing, but evidence supports inhabitation by an Adena culture from the Early Woodland period, roughly 1000 to 200 BCE. These modern archaeologists concluded the walls were not part of a defensive system but sheltered a sacred space used for rituals of some sort. Possibly the walls were meant to keep people out of a restricted area reserved for elders or shamans, roughly the Native American equivalent of religious leaders. A burial site near the Pinnacles also excavated by Burroughs lends credence to the sacred space theory. Much fact and legend surrounds this archaeological find, but Anderson is hesitant to share about it widely. The fear of looting is great since they already have this issue with other sites. More excavations could reveal additional information about what could have occurred on top of the Pinnacles, but Anderson is conflicted about whether further archaeological excavations should take place here. “It would be great to excavate,” she reflected, “but maybe we need to just let it be sacred and remain the way it is.” This sentiment comes from balancing a deep respect and a niggling curiosity about the early Native American presence in the county. “The Native Americans have a long, amazing, and beautiful history here,” she shared. It is her quest to discover it, and especially to preserve it. WINTER 2018 Madison Living 7