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Cobb Site (23AN56)


The Cobb Site was discovered during a Phase I survey of the area in preparation for the expansion of I-229 north of St. Joseph, Missouri.  Subsequent Phase II site testing indicated that it was a Nebraska Phase site (A.D. 1000 to 1300).  It was believed that, like most Nebraska Phase sites to the north, the site would be a small village or homestead with a limited number of houses.  Phase III excavation included a systematic surface collection, probing to try to locate features, hand excavations of those features, and stripping of the plowzone to locate other features.

The excavation revealed that the site had been heavily damaged by agricultural activities, but one almost complete house basin and one partial house basin were located.  Only the lower edges of the house basins and postmolds remained.  Nineteen pit features were located and excavated, most from the plowzone stripping.  The houses had postmolds situated outside of the basins making the structures partly subterranean.  Postmold diameters are small, and there is no evidence of central support posts making them unlike the typical earthlodges of other Central Plains Tradition sites.  The village may have been substantially larger based on surface distribution than the area that was excavated.

Two radiocarbon dates were run on carbon materials recovered from two separate (upper & lower) deposits in one of the house basins.  The date for the upper deposit sample has a range of A.D. 1273-1392 (1 Sigma calibrated result).  The sample from the lower deposits has a date range of A.D. 1052-1274 (1 Sigma calibrated result).

The artifact assemblage is typical of all of the late prehistoric assemblages in the area.  There are numerous projectile points (Cahokia and Madison styles of arrowpoints) and scrapers as well as abraded sandstone.  The principal difference in the late sites is in the types of pottery and their decoration.  Pottery from the site is very diverse, with a broad range of tempering types rather than the more typical grit-tempered assemblages further to the north.

The site lies at the border of both Steed-Kisker and Nebraska phases (the former represents the same time period, but is situated south of the latter).  The site contains some elements of both but is largely part of the Nebraska Phase.  The site, while heavily damaged, is still the only Nebraska Phase site excavated to date in Missouri.

A technical report, entitled Data Recovery Excavations at the Cobb Site (23AN56): A Nebraska Phase Site in Andrew County, Missouri (2012), was completed for the project and is on file at the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office and the MoDOT Historic Preservation section.

Cobb Site


Steed-Kisker rim sherds   McVey rim sherds

Steed-Kisker Rim Sherds                                              McVey Rim Sherds       





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