Monday, May 11, 2015

Indian Relics At Tolu

An interesting article from the files of The Crittenden Press, dated June 21, 1957.

Residents of Tolu in Crittenden County were reminded again last week that their village had been the site of a settlement long before a white man built a house there.

The reminder came as bulldozers leveling the site for a new school building near the old one turned up hundreds of Indian artifacts, mostly broken shards of Pottery but including arrowheads and other flint implements and bones, both human and animal.

The "Tolu Site" has long been known as a treasure-trove for relics of the Stone Age culture that preceded European man in the area.  Arrowheads and other items turn up frequently when neighborhood fields are plowed.

The site was thoroughly excavated and studied in the summer of 1930 by W. S. Webb and W. D. Funkhouser of the University of Kentucky and a liberally illustrated report of the study was published by the University in March, 1931.

The team of archaeologists cut into the hillside now largely owned by the school board and discovered that it had been the site of a large Indian lodge house.  Post-holes found on two different levels indicated that the mound had been used for this purpose two different times.

Mingled all through the top nine feet or so of the soil on the mound are quantities of mussel shells brought up from the river, arrowheads, bones and above all, broken pottery.  A look at the site Wednesday afternoon uncovered no arrowheads, and presumably the area has been picked clean of these already by the pieces of pottery still abound.

Among the most numerous types of fragments is that called "Textile marked pottery" in the Funkhouser and Webb study.  These shards bear impressions of coarse textiles pressed around the pottery before it was dried.

Other types of pottery found at Tolu include very hard black and red pieces used for other purposes by the Indians.

The school site is on a hill described by the scientists as the "ceremonial mound."  Another hill nearby was also investigated in 1930 at which time 22 graves were uncovered.  Another skeleton was found in the ceremonial mound.

Several of the skeletons uncovered by Dr. Funkhouser's party were taken to the University of Kentucky museums. The State of Kentucky is rich in Archaeological material, and has furnished many of the most valued specimens now on display in the great European museums, as well as those in the United States. 

It is a sad tragedy that practically all this valuable material has been taken from Kentucky, and that having given generously to the world, there are no great museum collections within her border.

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