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Archaeological Investigations Within the Proposed U.S. 61 Corridor North of Canton in Lewis and Clark Counties Missouri, Volume IX:  Excavations at the Killdeer Site

Baker Lake Site

The data recovery work at the Killdeer site (23CK310) consisted of hand excavation of two blocks and mechanical stripping. Block 1 was placed in an area that had denser prehistoric artifact concentrations. Block 2 was positioned to further investigate the area around the previously identified prehistoric feature. The prehistoric deposits at the site were associated with an Early Woodland Black Sand Snycartee phase (cal. A.D. 200 B.C.–A.D. 1) component and with Late Woodland South Branch phase (cal. A.D. 300–600) and Ralls phase (cal A.D. 750–1000) components. Historic deposits associated with a late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century tenant farmstead were also identified.


Three ceramic samples associated with the Black Sand occupation at the Killdeer site were submitted for luminescence dating. Two samples returned dates of 133 B.C. and 135 B.C., which firmly places that occupation in the Snycartee phase. The recovery of a Snyders Cluster hafted biface, a copper pin, and human remains from within the area where the Black Sand pottery was found provide additional evidence that a Snycartee phase occupation was at the site. The Black Sand Snycartee phase component at the Killdeer site represents a short-term residential occupation that focused on lithic reduction of locally available Burlington chert, various subsistence activities (e.g., food processing or hide working), and possibly mortuary activity. The Early Woodland data from the excavation of the Killdeer site conforms to descriptions of Black Sand sites in west-central Illinois and fits with the current model of Black Sand settlement that indicates Snycartee phase groups were occupying this part of the valley between 200 B.C. and 1 A.D.


The Killdeer site also contributed to our knowledge of early to middle Late Woodland site use and distribution in northeastern Missouri. Both South Branch (A.D. 300–600) and Ralls (cal. A.D. 750–1000) phase ceramics and lithics were identified in the plow zone deposits at the site, but due to the small size of the assemblage and lack of integrity, little information about them was obtained. Both Late Woodland occupations likely represented short-term logistical activities by small groups.


Lastly, the Killdeer site provides information about a previously undocumented historic tenant farmstead that was located here between circa 1890 and 1925. Information on the architectural landscape of the farmstead, as well as the identity, economic status, and subsistence patterns of its occupants, was obtained from this investigation. This data fits with what is expected on late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century tenant farmstead sites and provides a comparative dataset for future research on Midwestern farm tenancy in the region.


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