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In 1997 American Electric Power company donated a 44-acre parcel of land containing what archaeologist call the Buffalo site-one of the best preserved Indian Village sites in West Virginia. The site is listed on the National Register of historic places. The site encompasses at least four time periods in one Late Archaic village (4000–1000 B.C.), one Middle Woodland village (A.D. 390–530), and at least two overlapping Fort Ancient style villages (A.D. 1300–1600).

Although the Buffalo site has a limited amount of Archaic and Woodland Period deposits, it is famous as the site of a 12-acre village occupied up until the late 17th century.  Archaeologist Edward McMichael excavated about 10 percent of the site between 1963 and 1965. His research revealed that the village was oval-shaped, with an open plaza surrounded by three concentric rings of houses. Encircling the entire village was a palisade wall constructed of about 1,800 posts.

The culture of the Buffalo site people is typical of the late-prehistoric upper Ohio River area. People lived in a permanent village and combined farming with hunting and gathering. Their artifact styles shared common traits with the Monogahela Culture to the north and the Fort Ancient Culture of present-day Kentucky and Ohio.

One striking conclusion of McMichael’s excavations was warfare was common in the lives of the Buffalo site people. Of the 562 burials recovered during excavations, 13 had arrowheads embedded in them, meaning that at least two percent of the population met with violent deaths. A number of arrowheads were fashioned of non-local stone, suggesting that raiding was the source of violence.

Inhabitants of the Buffalo site may have received 'weeping eye' shell collars such as this one from traders in Tennessee.

Inhabitants of the Buffalo site may have received ‘weeping eye’ shell collars such as this one from traders in Tennessee.

Trade was also a part of the Buffalo site people’s lives. Villagers obtained marine shells from the coast to fashion beads and ornaments. In addition, a ‘weeping eye’ s
hell collar and two ‘Citico’-style rattlesnake shell collars were found at the site. Archaeologist Lee Hanson thinks the collars are trade goods from eastern Tennessee. The presence of copper artifacts, glass trade beads, and the extended burials places the latest village within the Protohistoric period, about A.D. 1600.