Magnetics-Prehistoric Native American Residential Sites

Prehistoric Native American residential sites are very common in the Middle Ohio Valley. They range widely in size, from small short-term camp sites to large villages covering acres. While most residential sites likely included houses, plowing has long since destroyed the house floors, leaving behind the bottoms of the structural post remains. Since post holes and post molds  are rarely detectable in magnetic surveys, unless they contain burned earth, we typically use the magnetometer to look for pit-type features. Pit features, including storage pits, trash-filled pits, and cooking pits, are quite common at residential sites.

The magnetic data shown below come from Brown’s Bottom in Ross County, Ohio. The survey covered at least three Hopewell residential sites. The magnetic anomalies of potential interest to the right include all of the anomalies likely to be pit features. While excavations uncovered the remains of three houses, none of these were detected in the magnetic survey–likely because the post holes of all three structures were filled with gravel, which is not magnetic in this case.