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THE DOVER MOUND The village of Dover lies on the Ohio River ten miles northwest of Maysville in Mason County. Not more than three or four miles to the east across the river is Ripley, Ohio. Before 1800 the pioneers had claimed the very fertile land along the Ohio at the site of Dover, and this community became one of the first settlements in Mason County. It was incorporated in 1836. Here in this region, tobacco was first produced in Kentucky, and it early became the principal money crop of the farmers. In 1843 the Arthur Fox's addition, then known as New Dover, was brought into the Dover town limits. The village about this time enjoyed a rapid growth, and it became an important business center and the second largest town in Mason County. By 1876 it had a population of 1,332. The Ohio River was a natural artery of trade, and the pioneers drifted down this stream in canoes and flatboats in the early days of the settlement of Kentucky. With the advent of the steamboat, trade centers emerged at strategic locations along the river; Dover was one of these thriving river towns. For many years Dover was the largest tobacco prizing and shipping center in Mason County. Then in 1886 the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad was constructed between Ashland and Cincinnati, reducing the distance between these two cities by fifty-five miles. Transportation 2 Fig. 1. The Dover Mound, looking south toward the hills marking the southern edge of the Ohio River flood plain. gradually shifted from the steamboat to the train, and Dover declined as a shipping point. Commerce and population left the village also, and by 1950 the census reported only 334 residents of Dover. A prominent landmark in the Dover area was a conical mound at the southeastern edge of the small town, about 1,000 feet east of the Dover-Minerva road and 700 feet south of the present Dover High School building. At the time excavation was begun in 1950, its cover of large oak trees enhanced its striking appearance on the nearly level Ohio River flood plain, which had long been cleared for cultivation (see fig. 1). The mound lay about halfway between the present bank of the Ohio and the line of high hills demarking the southern boundary of the flood plain. The river terrace, at this point about a mile wide, revealed much evidence of Indian occupancy in the number and variety of stone artifacts which could be picked up in the cultivated fields. No serious damage had been done to the mound, although a few small pits had been dug into it in past years. Recently it had been fenced off as part of an area used for breeding hogs (see fig. 2). Permission to excavate this mound was readily given by the owner, Mrs. Perry Barrett of Dover, on condition that the mound be completely removed and the earth from it used to fill low spots in the adjacent area. These low spots may have been borrow pits from which the earth for the building of this mound had been obtained. EXCAVATION Investigation of the Dover Mound was begun May 6, 1950. Before the actual excavation was commenced, the mound was cleared of fences and all trees except a few large ones on its skirt far enough from the area not to obstruct the operation of the trucks. An east-west baseline was established over the highest point in the mound, which was then staked in five-foot squares right and left from this line. Excavation was begun on the western edge of the mound (see fig. 3). The profiles were revealed by taking down five-foot cuts north to south, the earth being shoveled into dump trucks and hauled away (see figs. 4 and 5). Work was continued until September l, when the profiles were banked and the mound was put in condition for the winter (see fig. 6). Excavation was resumed June 12, 1951, and was completed August 21. A benchmark was established southwest of the mound by driving down a heavy stake at a point which seemed to represent the original level of the flood plain. All elevations were thereafter recorded as above or below this benchmark. When staked, the mound was found to be 11 0 feet wide east-west, and 120 feet wide north-south at the level of the benchmark, and to have a maximum elevation above this level of...


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