Perry County Landfill, Alabama

ESI conducted Phase I survey at the approximately 500 acre Perry Count Landfill Rail Area tract in Perry County Alabama. The survey included a pedestrian inspection combined with systematic shovel testing at 30 and 60-meter intervals.  Delineation shovel tests were typically dug at 15-meter intervals around positive shovel tests.  As a result of the survey 15 archaeological sites were recorded and seven isolated finds were documented.  The artifacts indicated that the property had sustained intermittent and ephemeral prehistoric occupation since the Late Paleoindian period through the Late Woodland period and potentially up until the Mississippian Period.  There also was evidence of 19th and 20th century occupation in the form of surface artifact scatters.  No standing structures were identified on the property. None of the sites found at the Perry County Landfill Rail Area are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places because of the extensive disturbances to the property coupled with sparse artifact density.

ESI also conducted a Phase II evaluation at eight historic-period archaeological sites and searched for a purported cemetery within the Landfill.  The archaeological sites were associated with the antebellum Rurill Hill Plantation owned by the prominent local planter Phillip Henry Pitts.  The sites included six small tenant farmer home sites, one high status residence, and the original plantation house occupied by the Pitts Family.  These sites were each exposed to regular interval shovel testing, limited controlled excavation, and mechanical stripping in order to identify cultural features associated with the historic occupations.  As a result of these investigations the sites were determined to be ineligible for NRHP inclusion based on the level of disturbance caused by many years of agricultural activity in the area.  A search for a purported cemetery was also conducted at the Perry County Landfill site.  The cemetery investigations included probing with a metal tipped rod in order to investigate for cemetery signatures, metal detecting for coffin hardware or burial accompaniments, and large scale soil removal using heavy machinery.  As a result of the investigations, no burials or evidence of human interment was identified at the location of the purported cemetery.

Rurill Hill Plantation Site
Artifacts from Rurill Hill Plantation Site

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