A farmer stands in the foreground and the mesa-like Fort Hill is visible in the distance.
Situated atop a flat, mesa-like hill located near Confluence, the Fort Hill site consisted of two overlapping village components. Freshwater springs on the eastern and western slopes of the mesa-like hill would have provided Fort Hill's Monongahela inhabitants with ready sources of water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and to maintain small garden plots. A WPA field crew excavated this site in 1939 and 1940. The smaller component, Fort Hill I, dated to ca 1275 A.D. and 202 peopled lived in its 34 dwellings. Crowding apparently led the villagers at Fort Hill I to expand their settlement into the much larger Fort Hill II, where approximately 270 people inhabited 35 dwellings around A.D. 1300. The central post around which Fort Hill I's inhabitants initially performed ceremonies and rituals was moved to remain central to the village's plaza, as that plaza shrunk. The relocated central post then became the central point around which Fort Hill II was designed.
(1) Site map of Fort Hill produced by Edgar Augustine in 1942. Fort Hill I is the smaller oval occupation located within Fort Hill II's plaza. (2) Map of Fort Hill showing location of central posts. Fort Hill I's post was moved as dwellings encroached on the plaza and then the relocated post was used as the central post around which Fort Hill II was designed.
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Available on line at: http://www.quemahoning.com/Somerset/BKMeans/WPA.htm
1999 Monongahela Mortuary Practices in Somerset County, Pennsylvania: Observations and Implications. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 69 (2):15-44.
2000 Mapping a New Future for the Past: Further Insights into Depression-era Archaeological Excavations in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 16:155-166.
2001 Circular Reasoning: Ring-shaped Village Settlements in Late Prehistoric Southwestern Pennsylvania and Beyond. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 17:109-131.
2002 “....To Reconstruct These Houses of Men Who Lived in a Stone Age:” Modeling Village Community Organization Using Data from the Somerset County Relief Excavations. In Northeast Subsistence-Settlement Change: A.D. 700 - A.D. 1300, edited by John P. Hart and Christina Rieth, pp. 43-71. New York State Museum Bulletin 496. The University of the State of New York, Albany.
2005a New Dates for New Deal Excavated Monongahela Villages in Somerset County. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 75 (1):49-61.
2005b Late Woodland Villages in the Allegheny Mountains Region of Southwestern Pennsylvania: Temporal and Social Implications of New Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Dates. Uplands Archaeology in the East VII and IX, edited by Carole L. Nash and Michael B. Barber, pp. 13-23. Archeological Society of Virginia Special Publication 38-7.
2006a Circular Reasoning: Drawing on Models of Ring-shaped Village Spatial Layouts To Examine Villages in Late Prehistoric Pennsylvania. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
2006b The social implications of a new method for estimating the number of residents within Monongahela houses from their floor areas. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 22: 31-50.
2007 Circular Villages of the Monongahela Tradition . The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.