Fort Hill site (36 So 2)
  A farmer stands in the foreground and the mesa-like Fort Hill is visible in the distance.

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.

Site Maps

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  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.

(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.

Site Scenes
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. Another view of Fort Hill Fort Hill and its surroundings

On the road to Fort Hill

Another view of Fort Hill

Fort Hill and its surroundings

Fort Hill and its surroundings Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill

Fort Hill and its surroundings

Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill Excavating at Fort Hill
Winter at Fort Hill.  Sticks were used to show posthole locations A reconstructed dwelling Pit 43 with large vessel
Winter at Fort Hill.  Sticks were used to show posthole locations

A reconstructed dwelling

at Fort Hill

Pit 43 with large vessel

fragment at Fort Hill

Centrally located and Unusually large posthole Large and small palisade postholes at Fort Hill

Centrally located and

stone-lined posthole

 at Fort Hill

Unusually large

posthole at Fort Hill

Large and small palisade
postholes at Fort Hill

Double row of house postholes

Double row of house

postholes at Fort Hill

 
References

Augustine, Edgar

1938      Important Research on Peck and Martz Rock Shelter Site in Somerset County.  Pennsylvania Archaeologist 8 (4):83-88.

 

Hart, John P.

1993      Monongahela Subsistence-Settlement Change: The Late Prehistoric Period in the Lower Upper Ohio Valley. Journal of World Prehistory 7:71-120.

 Means, Bernard K.

1998      Archaeological Past and Present: Field Methodology from 1930s Relief Excavations in Somerset County, Pennsylvania and its Relevance to Modern Archaeological Interpretations.  Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 14:39-63.

              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.

Artifact Images


Bone tools from Fort Hill (*)


Ceramic tobacco pipe from Fort Hill


Stone tools from Fort Hill (*)


Ceramic vessel from Fort Hill (*)

Photographs marked with a (*) on this page date to 1939 or 1940.