Nugent Site (22-HA-592)

National Register ID: 88000307

Area Of Significance: Prehistoric

Period Of Significance: 1499-1000 AD

Date Listed: 4/13/1988

Location: Kiln, MS (address restricted)

Statement of Significance

The Nugent Site (22-Ha-592), [---redacted-by-USDOI---] is a valuable multi-component site occupied from the Paleo Indian through the Woodland Period (8,000 B.C.-700 A.D.). Located in the Longleaf Pine Belt physiographic province, approximately 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, the Nugent site is one of the few sites recorded for this portion of Southwest Mississippi [---redacted-by-USDOI---]. This makes the role the site can play in understanding inland cultural manifestation in South, especially Southwest Mississippi all the more valuable. The site is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D as the site is likely to provide valuable information important in the area of prehistoric archaeology. Excavations by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in late 1987 have documented the presence of undisturbed, archaeological context that could serve as the basis for establishing some sort of tentative chronology for the Longleaf Pine belt physiograhic province. While there appears to be little in the way of natural stratigraphy (most materials were recovered from within a 40 cm. layer of soil), analysis of materials recovered to date may demonstrate separation by component. The site was excavated in arbitrarily selected 10 cm. levels.

Little is known about Paleo-Archaic cultural manifestations in this area and materials recovered to date may provide us with insights into the subsistence-settlement patterns for these periods. Comparisons should be made with other sites recorded and tested from the Gulf Coast Plain proper, a short distance to the south of the Nugent Site. Several features were recorded and soil samples taken for floation and analysis and it is reasonable to expect that more features still remain at the site. It is reasonable to assume that coastal resources could have been exploited by peoples utilizing the Longleaf Pine Belt physiographic province as a distance of less than fifteen miles separates the two. Ceramics recovered to date indicate an occupation sometime in the Middle to Late Woodland Period, however, the sample is rather small. Future excavations may reveal additional ceramic types at the Nugent Site, and it is possible these could be used in attempting to set up a tentative Woodland sequence for this area. The fact that the site has never been cultivated argues further for its importance and the likelihood that additional undisturbed features and perhaps midden deposits are present at the site.

Present and Historical Appearance

The Nugent Site (22-Ha-592) [---redacted-by-USDOI---]. The Nugent Site is a small open air site occupying the edge of a ridge adjacent to a small creek [---redacted-by-USDOI---]. Occupying an area of less than one outline with maximum dimensions of 275-325' x 75-90'. The site was initially discovered by the landowner, Mr. James Nugent, while he was clearing the trees and underbrush from the area exposing cultural material on the surface. Unscientific excavations by family members in an area of 90' x 55' revealed lithics and ceramics. The collections were maintained by the family who contacted the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The material collected indicated occupation/utilization of the site during the Paleo Indian (BP 12,000-10,000), the Early Archaic (BP 10,000-8,000), the Middle Archaic (BP 8,000-5,000), the Late Archaic (BP 5,000-1,500), and Middle to Late Woodland (0-7OO AD). Upon clearing of the trees and brush and completion of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History test excavations, the land was seeded in an effort to re-establish a solid ground cover to deter any possible erosion. The land around the site has more than likely never been cultivated, however, timber has been harvested here before.

[---redacted-by-USDOI---] has been exposed to extremely little archaeological research. Reported sites are quite uncommon while fifteen miles south on the Gulf of Mexico numerous archaeological sites have been recorded in the state site files. Test excavations were undertaken at the site in November of 1987 by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History assisted by volunteers from the Mississippi Archaeological Association, Pearl River Chapter and Gulf Coast Chapter, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Historical and Genealogical Society. Three 1 x 1 meter test pits, and a single 3 x 3 meter test pit were dug revealing several possible features, lithics, and ceramics in relatively undisturbed contexts. A generalized surface collection was made also and the information gathered compared quite favorably with the material recovered in uncontrolled excavations by the landowner in an area of approximately 4,050 square feet toward the center of the site. A single recovered Hinds projectile point constructed of Coastal Plain Agate dates to the Paleo Indian Period. While unifacial tools (scrapers, gravers) and a single Early Archaic projectile point (unidentifable as to type) reflect Early Archaic utilization of the site. Middle Archaic broad based stemmed points, Late Archaic stemmed points, a drilled barrel shaped bead (probably limonite) , Woodland (unidentifiable to type/variety) ceramics of sand and sand/clay tempering along with several Collins projectile points round out the diagnostic materials recovered.

Additional Notes

BOUNDARY JUSTIFICATION: The boundary is restricted to an area of approximately 300 x 80 m. on ridge top as evidenced by the distribution of cultural materials over the entire surface of the site and by information from excavation of a 3 x 3 meter test pit and two 1 x 1 test pits.

(Details and text copied from National Register nomination form)

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