Burial 3


by H. Trawick Ward

Pit Morphology

Burial 3 was located near the southeast end of the cemetery at 282.7R89.1. The pit for this burial was visible at the base of the plowzone as a rectangular area of brown humus that contained charcoal, animal bone, and other food refuse. The major axis of the pit was northwest-southeast. It measured 4.4 ft by 3.2 ft and was 3.0 ft deep, making it the deepest pit in the cemetery. Pit walls mostly were vertical; however, the southwest wall of this pit sloped in slightly at the bottom and a narrow ledge was present along the bottom of the northeast wall. Several large rocks, natural inclusions in the soil, protruded into the pit at various points along the bottom edge. The flat surfaces of the walls and bottom again indicate that it was excavated with Euroamerican metal tools. As with Burial 1 and Burial 2, this pit contained two major zones of fill. The upper Zone 1 averaged a little over 1 ft in thickness and consisted of a dark brown humic soil rich in animal bones, carbonized plant remains, and potsherds. A layer of small pebbles extended through the middle of this zone. Zone 2 was comprised of a mottled orange clay, which in some areas extended upward around the rim of the pit, thus encircling Zone 1. In places, Zone 2 was nearly 2 ft thick.

Burial Deposition

The skeleton, that of an adult male who was 32 +/- 5 years old at death, was tightly flexed and lying on its left side, with its skull to the southeast. The skeleton occupied only the southwestern half of the pit and was tucked against the southwest wall. The arms were bent at an acute angle with the hands in front of the face.

Grave Goods

A bundle of artifacts was located between the back of the neck and the northeast pit wall. It contained two pairs of scissors (first, second), two bone-handled knives (first, second), three pewter buttons, a fragment of dark-faceted glass, a metal tack, a brass buckle with part of a leather strap preserved, pieces of lead shot, a dog-lock musket spring, several unidentified fragments of iron, and a clump of red ocher. Cloth and wood were preserved as fragments in association with the metal artifacts. All of these items were possibly contained within a wooden box or cloth wrapping. A smoking kit containing a pewter pipe, an ember tender, and flint was located opposite the face of the skull. An iron axe head was found between the smoking pipe and the southwest wall. Other grave associations consisted of a rum bottle positioned behind the skull and adjacent to the artifact bundle. Perishable items such as cloth or skins may have been placed on the ledge along the eastern edge at the bottom of the pit, as the soil in this area was darker and more organic than the rest of the burial fill.