Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dark and Bloody Ground

Certainly not every one would agree with me that growing up in Winchester, Kentucky during the 1950s and early 1960s was anything special. Life happened, and it was not always good. My family had been here more than 150 years and well at the time, I could not wait to grow older one more year! One hundred and fifty years was a very, very, very, long time.

Where did it all begin, this land called Kentucky? "The Dark and Bloody Ground" it was called. At least this Daniel Boone-type expression was used to begin many stories. I now know that human existence began much before my family knew anything, well...., about anything.

The earliest humans were thought to arrive in my neighborhood around 10,000 BC. This Paleoindian period was even before the "Ice Age" which is felt to have begun around 8,000 BC. They were thought to be nomadic, big-game hunters and gatherers which certainly set the stage for Daniel Boone. I always thought that it must have been the combination of water, limestone formations, and summer heat, which produced the most important item of all, salt. Salt was necessary for life, and I suspect that all those woolly mammoths smelled the salt and "came a runnin".

By the late Archaie period (3,000 - 1,000 BC), settlements had become more permanent, but were generally considered base camps along the water and salt trails. A site in Clark County was discovered called the Stone site which contained scrapers, hammer-stones, and other tool making implements. Food processing was defined by circular pits and must have been the first cookout in Clark County!

Clark County continued to be occupied from this point forward with archaeological evidence from the Woodland periods; Early (1,000 BC - 200 BC), Middle (200 BC - 500AD), and the Late (400 AD - 1000 AD). It is generally believed that bows and arrows were introduced into the area at this time; and because of this, it provided one of the chief collections that many boys from Clark County had, i.e., the arrow head collection. Of course bows and arrows produced blood shed, and perhaps this was the reason for the name "Dark and Bloody ground". The final stage prior to any written history was known as the Mississippi period (900 AD - 1700 AD). By this time, life in what was to become Kentucky had become fully agricultural, and distinct villages and towns were being built. Of course you had to protect your village from others with bows and arrows and there is evidence that many villages were fortified. Kill or be killed. Man what a life!

1 comment:

  1. For those interested, there is a book entitled, Kentucky Archaeology, edited by Barry Lewis, The University Press of Kentucky, 1996. It gives in great detail the prehistory of Kentucky.