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Archaeological Investigations Within the Proposed U.S. 61 Corridor North of Canton in Lewis and Clark Counties Missouri, Volume VI:  Data Recovery at the Middle Woodland and Late Woodland Carskadon Site (23LE348) in Lewis County, Missouri

The Carskadon site is located at the base of a bluff that borders the western edge of the Mississippian floodplain. To the east of the sites are wetlands, streams, oxbow lakes, and the Mississippi River. The site itself is located on a small rise that formed as a result of alluvial and colluvial deposition. The intermittent stream that comprises the southern boundary of the site was likely a contributing element to the depositional process. This small rise above the floodplain kept the location mostly dry, except possibly during the most extreme flooding events that occurred in the past. Close proximity to a diverse array of natural resources coupled with moderate protection from hydrologic fluctuations created an ideal location for people to live.

23LE348_view_to_west     23LE348_view_to_east

The earliest components documented at the site appears to have been ephemeral Late Archaic and Early Woodland occupations, followed by numerous Middle Woodland occupations, and then several different smaller Late Woodland occupations. The advantage of living in this locality continued to be recognized into the historic period, as evidenced by the presence of a mid-eighteenth to early-nineteenth-century farmstead. The Early Woodland occupation was sparsely represented at the site and consisted of just a few sherds belonging to the Black Sand Culture. No pits could be assigned to the Black Sand occupation.


The Middle Woodland Havana occupation was the most substantial at the site. The numerous superimposed pits and the rebuilding of at least one structure indicate multiple reoccupations. Based on a series of radiocarbon dates, the Middle Woodland habitation of the site occurred mainly between cal. A.D. 1 and 250/300. Along with diagnostic artifacts, these dates clearly associate the Havana occupations with the middle portion of the Middle Woodland. No convincing early or late Middle Woodland material was identified. The vast majority of the pottery is Havana, with a few possible examples of Hopewell, although most of these appear to be local imitations. The lithic assemblage was mostly local Burlington and consisted of Snyders, Dickson, and North hafted bifaces. A few blades and nonlocal cherts were present. The cultivation of starchy seeds, the gathering of nuts (particularly hazelnut), and the hunting of aquatic animals were important.

23LE348_rim_sherd     23LE348_projectile_points


The multiple Havana occupations appear to be short-term (between 3 and 6 months in duration) and by a relatively small group of people. No convincing evidence of a sedentary village or year-round occupation is evident. The subsistence data, however, point to occupations that include multiple seasons. This suggests reoccupations were not always during the same season but instead included several seasons. Revisits to the site during this time may have been partly based on seasonality (logistical camps). In addition to seasonal mobility patterns, another aspect to the site revisits during this time may have involved ritual and ceremony.


At least two Late Woodland occupations occurred at the site. The first was a very minor (only a single pit feature) South Branch Phase occupation that likely occurred between 300 A.D. and 650/700 (South Branch I Phase). This was based entirely on ceramic attributes and through comparisons with the much larger South Branch occupations at Artesian Branch. The other Late Woodland occupation was found to be consistent with the Ralls Phase. Two radiocarbon dates bracket the occupation between cal. A.D. 600 and 900. This corresponds to the middle portion of the Late Woodland and would then be comparable to the South Branch II, Bauer Branch, and the Cord Horizon phases among others. This component appears to be the result of several short term occupations. Two partial posthole patterns indicate that structures were present, but were not of substantial construction.

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