Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Sarah W. Neusius, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lara Homsey-Messer, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Penelope B. Drooker, Ph.D.


The Orchard site is an important protohistoric Fort Ancient site in West Virginia. Avocational archaeologists first conducted excavations in the 1940s; the artifacts from these investigations are in private collections and are unfortunately not accessible for research. Professional excavations in the 1970’s by the West Virginia Geological Survey Section of Archaeology produced many additional artifacts; these are housed at Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex and are available for study by researchers. This thesis research utilizes this collection to study ceramic attributes and burial attributes to examine if the Orchard people are in fact Fort Ancient individuals and if they are truly similar to the individuals living at Madisonville. Ceramics, particularly diagnostic sherds, can provide significant information about cultural behavior. Burial attributes are likewise very diagnostic. It is therefore possible to examine ceramics and burial attributes to determine if there are close affiliations among groups.