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Mallinckrodt Site (23SL2230)

Mallinckrodt SiteThe Mallinckrodt site is located along the crest of an upland ridge in northern St. Louis County, about 2 miles NNW of the Lambert-St Louis International Airport. The site is situated near the head of ravines that drain into Cowmire Creek, which flows into the Missouri River valley about one mile to the northwest.  The site was identified in 2002 during construction of a new interchange at Interstate 270 and McDonnell Boulevard.  Two pit features were exposed along the south side of I-270 in the profile of a trench excavated for borrow material.

MoDOT archaeologists immediately began investigating the remaining portions of the Mallinckrodt site, much of which was probably destroyed by the initial construction of Interstate 270.  Within MoDOT’s right-of-way, the old plowzone was removed with a motor-grader, revealing two clusters of pit features.  The scraped area totaled about 1240 m2 or one-third of an acre.  The eastern cluster of features consisted of two bell-shaped pits identified in the north wall of the small borrow area.  A second cluster of four cultural features was identified on a slope west of the ridge top where two large pits, another smaller pit and a small hearth like concentration of rock were found.  A number of small postmold-like stains were also observed in association with the western feature cluster.  

The Mallinckrodt site yielded a sample of 196 grog-tempered sherds, most with cordmarked exteriors. The only other ceramics were plain and all eight of the plain sherds were found in Feature 3 in the western pit cluster.  Only nine of the sherds were recovered outside the six features. 

The lithic debitage sample was limited to 34 flakes or pieces of shatter and three cores/core fragments.  Two biface fragments were recovered from Feature 2 in the eastern cluster.  No arrow points or diagnostic chipped stone tools were found.

The grog-tempered cordmarked ceramics from the Mallinckrodt site are affiliated with the Late Woodland Patrick phase.  Charcoal from two features provided conventional radiocarbon dates of 1210+/-60 BP (cal AD 675-966 (OxCal 4.1)) and 1300+/-50 BP (cal AD 646-865 (OxCal 4.1)), which support this interpretation.  

Examples of cordmarked sherdsThe two pit clusters within the Interstate 270 right-of-way at the Mallinckrodt site appear to represent single component, limited activity areas of short duration, perhaps related to individual households.  The paucity of chert debitage and tools suggests that chipped stone tool maintenance and lithic reduction activities were of minimal importance during the occupation or were conducted in spatially separate areas.  The Mallinckrodt site is similar in many respects to small upland Patrick phase pit clusters reported from sites bordering the American Bottom across the Mississippi River from St. Louis (see Bentz 1988, Koldehoff and Galloy 2006, McElrath 1988 and Wittry et al 1994).  A more extensive summary of this site can be found in the 2011 article by Terry Martin and Rusty Weisman, “In Praise of Simple Sites: The Mallinckrodt Site (23SL2230)” in the Missouri Archaeological Society Quarterly (Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 12-18).

References Cited
Bentz, Charles
1988  The Patrick Phase Occupations at the Columbia Farms Site. In Late Woodland Sites in the American Bottom Uplands, by Charles Bentz, Dale L. McElrath, Fred A. Finney and Richard B. Lacampagne, pp. 218-233.  American Bottom Archaeology FAI-270 Site Reports Vol. 18. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.

Koldehoff, Brad and Joseph M Galloy
2006  Late Woodland Frontiers in the American Bottom Region.  Southeastern Archaeology 25(2):275-300.

McElrath, Dale L.
1988  The Patrick Phase Occupation at the Alpha 3 Site.  In Late Woodland Sites in the American Bottom Uplands, by Charles Bentz, Dale L. McElrath, Fred A. Finney and Richard B. Lacampagne, pp. 169-186.  American Bottom Archaeology FAI-270 Site Reports Vol. 18. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.

Wittry, Warren L., John C. Arnold, Charles O. Witty and Timothy R. Pauketat
1994  The Holdner Site: Late Woodland, Emergent Mississippian and Mississippian Occupations in the American Bottom Uplands (11-S-685).  American Bottom Archaeology, FAI-270 Site Reports Vol. 26. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.





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