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Big Loose Creek Site (23OS1208)

reconstructed late woodland vessel

The Big Loose Creek Site (23OS1208) is a large terminal Late Woodland village (A.D. 900-1000) on the creek of the same name just upstream from its entry into the Missouri River floodplain in Osage county.  The site was identified during the preliminary design process to relocate State Route C about 100 feet to the north to avoid a landslide of the terrace edge into the creek.  Only about one acre of the site fell within the realignment.  While the full size of the site is unknown, it was estimated that 95-98% of the site remains. 

Excavations on the site revealed two prehistoric house basins, three midden areas, and approximately 100 postholes and pits.  .  A wealth of information about the past lifeways of these Native Americans was recovered in the excavations.  Over 152,000 artifacts were recovered, including over 41,000 potsherds, 700 chipped stone tools, 100 cobble tools, as well as a large number of more exotic items such as a chunky stone, over 20 pipes, and drilled cottonstone pendants.  The houses appear to be widely scattered with a lot of space between them.  Unfortunately, not enough of the village was excavated to speak much about spatial patterning.

Four charcoal samples were submitted for radiocarbon dating.  Three of the samples provide a date range of A.D. 880-1020 (1 Sigma calibrated results), while the fourth sample provides an outlier date range of A.D. 1460-1630.

School Tour

Students from local schools visited the site, and members of a local Scout Troop were able to earn their Archaeological Merit badges by participating in the site’s excavation.  Two articles, “Students ‘Dig’ Missouri’s Prehistoric Past” and “Local Scout Troop Earns Badge at MoDOT Archaeological Dig,” were published in MoDOT’s statewide newsletter, Connections.

A technical report, Archaeological Investigations at the Big Loose Creek Site, Osage County, Missouri: Mitigation of Adverse Effects from Road Construction on Route C (Larry Grantham, 2010), that summarizes the results of the excavation has been completed.


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