In 2006, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), District 5 contracted CRA to conduct archaeological data recovery investigations at the multi-component Baker’s Bluff site (33LI1094/1096) located within the alignment of the State Route 161 improvement project in St. Albans Township, Licking County, Ohio. Data recovery investigations can help to better identify archaeological components at a site and help archaeologists reconstruct the story of the past people.
Archaeological excavation at the site resulted in the removal of approximately 57,533 sq ft (5,345 sq m) of topsoil through mechanized stripping, two deep trenches, limited hand excavation of test units, and the documentation and excavation of 16 prehistoric cultural features. This effort also indicated that the Baker’s Bluff site includes 33LI1182, a site originally demarcated immediately south of 33LI1094/1096 on the same landform.
The data recovery investigation recovered significant data pertaining to Early Woodland, Middle Woodland, and late Middle to early Late Woodland (LMW/ELW) settlement and subsistence in central Ohio. Four components representing four primary temporal periods were identified by radiocarbon dates and the material remains. A Late Archaic component was identified based on two features, one at the north end of the site and one along the southern portion of the site amidst a cluster of features which are more recent in date. An Early Woodland component was situated in the northeast section of the site, originally designated 33LI1094, and a Middle Woodland component was situated at the southern end of the site, incorporating an additional site (33LI1182), and including several of the features in the southern cluster.
Finally, LMW/ELW component is identifiable along the southwest edge of the bluff, in that portion of the site originally designated 33LI1096. The Late Archaic and Early Woodland components are more ephemeral in nature, while the Middle Woodland and LMW/ELW components represent the more dominant components at this site in terms of material goods and features. The data recovery at the Baker’s Bluff site recovered significant data pertaining to Early Woodland, Middle Woodland, and late Middle to early Late Woodland settlement and subsistence in central Ohio.
The final report was approved by ODOT and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, and the site area was cleared for highway constructions.