Archaeological Report Number
This report documents the findings of a Phase II Site Examination conducted at the McDonald Site 12 OR 509 in the Hoosier National Forest in Southeast Township, Orange County, Indiana (Fig 1.1). The section of the forest where the site is located was formerly a 40-acre parcel representing the SENE parcel of T1S R1E Section 28 of the Southeast Township. This parcel was owned by a farmer named James McDonald from 1850-1893, and it represented but a small part of his 200 acre farm. The U.S. Forest Service acquired the property in 1936.
A Phase I archaeological survey was conducted at this site in 1985 by Resource Analysts, Inc., in which 6 shovel tests were dug on a 20 x 20m scatter. This survey identified both historic and prehistoric artifacts, as well as a root cellar that represented the most visible feature on the site. The resulting analysis of the site and relevant historic documents prompted the team to deem the site potentially eligible for National Register and recommended further testing and documentary research (Dorwin and Claflin 1986).
In the spring of 2013, Angie R. Krieger, archaeologist for the Hoosier National Forest, contacted Dr. LouAnn Wurst of Western Michigan University to request a Phase II evaluation of site 12 OR 509 to determine the site’s eligibility in advance of an anticipated land transfer. Archaeological fieldwork was conducted over four long weekends in the fall of 2013 and spring 2014 by anthropology students from Western Michigan University under the direction of Dr. Wurst.
In addition to excavating the root cellar feature, we dug a total of nine STPs and 26m2 of surface area, identified a total of 7 features, and recovered a sample of 6,209 artifacts. These artifacts were predominantly historic and domestic in nature, although 21 prehistoric artifacts were also recovered. The prehistoric material likely represents a short-term camp site dated between 2000 and 600 B.C.E., indicated by the expedient production of flakes, or late stage reduction and management of tools. Given the sparse nature of the material, this site has little research potential.
The historic period component represents a small house site. Structural features include the root cellar, three stone foundation piers, and a stone chimney stand or foundation. The lack of evidence for barns suggests that this was not a complete working farm. The artifact assemblage was very uniform across the site, and little evidence for temporally stratified materials could be discerned. There is slightly more evidence for spatial patterning, mostly in confirming the house’s footprint and indicating the location of a porch which may have served as a domestic work area. Most of the materials derive from sheet midden contexts, and thus represent small fragment sizes. This means that many of the artifacts could not be identified by functional group. Even so, nails, window glass, ceramics, bottles, and other small finds dominate the assemblage, confirming its domestic origin. In general, the historic artifacts represent only a modest investment in consumer behavior. Because of the uniform and modest material culture, we postulate that the 2 house was likely occupied by a tenant, perhaps working on McDonald’s farm or by John McDonald and his family, McDonald’s son, who worked as a school teacher.
Given the level of investigation during this testing, the redundancy of temporal and spatial data, and lack of clear evidence for the site’s historic occupants, we do not believe this site has further research potential or is eligible for the National Register of Historic Place. Therefore, no further work is recommended. However, we believe that the rich data recovered provides a valuable case to compare to other sites in the region and will help to further develop the historic context of the Hoosier National Forest and south central Indiana.