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Missouri Department of Transportation

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Pine Ford site (23JE764)

The Pine Ford site (23JE764) is a multicomponent site buried on two terraces within the Big River floodplain in Jefferson County.  The site was identified during the preliminary design process to replace the bridge over the Big River and the subsequent realignment of 0.7 mile of State Route Y.  Once it was determined that the site could not be avoided, MoDOT archaeologists in the fall of 1999 excavated the portion of the site that would be directly impacted by the proposed construction activities.  Phase II test trench


During the Phase I survey a total of 51 bucket auger tests were dug across the project area.  Twenty-three tests recovered cultural artifacts.  Auger tests on the lower terrace revealed artifacts from a depth of 20-125 cm below the ground surface.  Auger tests on the upper terrace revealed artifacts from a depth of 0-135 cm and 210-285 cm below the surface. 

The Phase II testing program utilized a backhoe to excavate five trenches across the site.  A series of 50x50-cm columns were excavated within each trench for vertical control of recovered artifacts.  Results of the Phase II testing confirmed and expanded upon the Phase I work.  It developed a geomorphic model of the landform, delineated two primary cultural horizons at the Pine Ford site, and established which portions of the site would be impacted by the proposed construction.

Four cultural components were identified within the two horizons:  Mississippian (radiocarbon date range of A.D. 1035-1295), Late Woodland (no radiocarbon dates), Early Woodland (755-385 B.C.) and Late Archaic (1405-1140 B.C.) (all ranges are the 1 Sigma calibrated results).  Two structure basins were identified and excavated.  The excavations revealed that each structure was built using different construction methods.  One structure had trenches dug along the edges of the basin to place the wall posts.  The other structure had individual postmolds along the edge of the basin, indicating that each wall post was placed in the ground separately.  The wall-trench structure was 2.2 by 4.0 meters.  A burnt wood sample has a calibrated radiocarbon date intercept of A.D. 1168.  The single post structure was 3.4 by 4.6 meters and had been burned after being abandoned.  Two of the burnt timbers have calibrated radiocarbon date intercepts of A.D. 1278 and A.D. 1280.

Schematic of the landform

Shell-temper Mississippian pottery sherds and grit-temper Late Woodland pottery sherds were recovered in the upper horizon at the Pine Ford Site.  No Early Woodland pottery was identified at the site.

examples of projectile points

A large collection of diagnostic projectile points from all four cultural components was recovered from the Pine Ford site.  This collection includes triangular Mississippian arrow points; small, expanding- stemmed Late Woodland arrow points and larger Late Woodland slightly expanding-stemmed points; elongated, square-stemmed Early Woodland points; and moderate size, expanding-stemmed Late Archaic points.

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

examples of projectile points


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