The Fudge Site: A New Look at an Ancient Monument, Randolph County, Indiana
Randolph County, Indiana
The Archaeological Resources Management Service (ARMS) at Ball State University conducted a FY2005 Historic Preservation Fund Grant to investigate the Fudge site. This project reviewed the archaeological setting, changes in landuse, and involved pedestrian surveys of the enclosure and surrounding area, an instrument survey of portions of the site, and limited test excavations along the northern embankment wall. The main objective of the project was to further our understanding of Early/Middle Woodland ceremonial and settlement systems in eastern Indiana and the Ohio River Valley through investigations of the Fudge site chronology, construction and function.
The project recorded 27 archaeological sites through pedestrian survey of approximate 170 acres. Besides the Fudge site, a Late Archaic lithic scatter (12R328), the old Randolph County Fairground (12R10 and 554) and a historic structure (12R578) were recommended for further investigation. The pedestrian surveys confirmed the absence of large amounts of habitation debris within the enclosure and found only tentative examples of Middle Woodland occupation in the nearby area.
Investigations at the Fudge site documented that over half of the embankment walls were visible although they were reduced significantly in height. Subsurface anomalies relating to the excavated mound and the plowed-down western gateway extension were documented through magnetometer surveys. Excavations recovered few artifacts but three radiocarbon dates ranging between cal 110 BC to AD 220 were obtained. The radiocarbon dates and the stratigraphy suggest multiple stages of construction involving preparation of the original ground surface and construction of the northern embankment wall from locally available soils.
Further understanding of Early/Middle Woodland ceremonial and settlement systems were obtained through investigations of the Fudge site chronology, construction and function. From all the information we have collected from the east central Indiana earthworks, it is apparent that they are part of a regional network. The clear regional pattern in chronology, sites, artifacts, mortuary practices and ceremonialism led to the redefinition of the New Castle Phase.
In sum, the project confirmed that important archaeological information still exists within the Fudge site and it was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. The site has already yielded important information in Early and Middle Woodland prehistory and contains intact, unexplored deposits that may further our understanding of the site.