Sampling of North Carolina's Archaeological Sites
Baum Site (31Ck9)
Currituck County, NC
The Baum site (3lCk9),
located on Currituck Sound in Currituck County, was initially surveyed
and recorded in July 1972 by Dr. David S. Phelps, East Carolina
University archaeologist. The major occupation of this village site
took place during the Middle and Late Woodland periods, although
there is some evidence of a limited Archaic period use of the site.
Late 18th and early l9th century historic material related to the
Baum family farmstead is also scattered across the state.
The most important
cultural features discovered at the Baum site were three Colington
phase ossuary burials. At least two other ossuaries (mass burials)
are known to have eroded out of the beach in recent years. The Colington
phase is equated with the Carolina Algonkian culture found in the
area by the first English explorers.
with the ossuaries include a cut panther muzzle, bone pins, bone
awls, ceramics, and a necklace of marginella shell and copper beads.
Other areas of the site have yielded large samples of ceramics,
projectile points, blades, cores, spalls, celts, milling stones,
shell tools, bone tools and pipes, as well as well-preserved faunal
remains including various mammal, fish, turtle and bird species.
Shellfish remains are predominantly oyster.
Very few investigations
have been conducted on relatively large, permanent Colington phase
villages, such as the Baum site. The site contains information crucial
to our understanding of the Colington phase, as well as the general
Woodland period occupations of the north coastal region of North
The Baum site is the
first known within the broader, traditional Carolina Algonkian distribution
in which more than one ossuary burial has been excavated. The clustering
of the ossuaries indicates that there may have been "cemetery areas"
in the larger, perhaps "central" villages. The excellent state of
preservation of the faunal and shellfish food remains will allow
analyses of the differences, if any, between adaptive patterns of
the Middle and Late Woodland components at the site, as well as
comparisons between the larger and smaller Colington phase villages.
As is the case with
many coastal sites, the Baum site has been and continues to be subject
to erosion and other destructive forces. At least 50 feet of the
site has eroded into Currituck Sound since 1972. The ossuary excavations
by David Phelps, and more recent burial "salvage" excavations by
the Office of State Archaeology, were the result of reports of eroding
"bones" by the landowner and local residents.
The Baum site was listed
in the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1980.
by: Dolores A.
Hall, NC Office of State Archaeology
by permission from the NEWSLETTER of the Friends of
North Carolina Archaeology, Inc., Summer 1987, Volume 3, Number 2.
© North Carolina Archaeological Society 1987
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