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Missouri Department of Transportation

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Elley Site (23CY562)

Middle River Bridge replacement

The Elley site is situated on terrace remnant adjacent to an abandoned channel scar of the Middle River, east of where it presently enters the Missouri River valley.  The site was identified and evaluated during archaeological investigations conducted in the mid-1990s during the preliminary design process to replace the bridge over the Middle River and the subsequent realignment of 0.9 mile of Route 94 in Callaway County.  The site is located in an approximately 15 cm thick soil zone that is buried approximately 1 meter below the current ground surface. 

Once it was determined that the site could not be avoided, MoDOT archaeologists in 2002 excavated the portion of the site that would be directly impacted by the proposed construction activities.  Forty-four features, consisting of shallow basin-shaped pits, hearths, and isolated postmolds along with a scattering of artifacts were located in this buried soil horizon. 

Samples of burnt wood recovered from a small hearth and a shallow basin pit were radiocarbon dated.  The two dates indicated that the Elley site was occupied between 1880 B.C. and 1670 B.C. (1 Sigma calibrated results), which would place it in the Late Archaic Period.

Projectile points or hafted bifaces recovered from the Elley site consist primarily of a Late Archaic corner-notched variety.  A single Late Archaic expanding stemmed projectile point was also recovered from the site.  In addition, a single Middle Archaic side-notched projectile point was also found at the site.  This artifact could represent evidence of a separate, earlier occupation at the site, or more likely, the point had been found and brought to the site by the Late Archaic inhabitants. 

Hearth pics

The analysis and interpretation of the data recovered during the excavation of the site is ongoing.

Middle Archaic   Late Archaic




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