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Rohlfing Site (23FR525)

Rohlfing Site

MoDOT archaeologists identified the Rohlfing site for a proposed realignment and bridge replacement project of Route 100 over Big Berger Creek in Franklin County.  The site is located in the rolling uplands dissected by Big Berger Creek, a northeast flowing tributary to the Missouri River.  Once it was determined that adverse impacts to the site could not be avoided, MoDOT contracted with Cultural Resources Analysts Inc. (CRAI) to excavate the portion of the site that would be adversely affected by the proposed bridge replacement project.

At the Rohlfing site about 700 sq m was excavated through mechanical stripping and hand excavation of features and postmolds. This area was subdivided into two tracts. The largest tract was 600 sq m and located north of Route 100. The remaining 100 sq m tract was located south of Route 100.


Rohlfing Site


A total of 12 Late Woodland features was identified and excavated at Rohlfing, all within the northern tract. The features were roughly divided into two clusters, northern and southern. Both feature clusters contained bell-shaped pits, shallow basins, and deep basins. The largest and primary occupation was centered in the south cluster and appears to have had cultural affinities to the Ralls phase, while the north cluster was related to the Maramec Spring phase. The Maramec Spring occupation was indicated by the presence of finely crushed limestone tempered, cordmarked pottery, while the Ralls occupation was represented by cordmarked and sand tempered ceramics.

Regardless of feature cluster, the predominant biface type was arrowpoints classified as belonging to the Scallorn Cluster, although a few dart bifaces were also present (i.e., Lowe Cluster). Scallorn Cluster bifaces included mostly Scallorn and Sequoyah types, but also a few Klunk Side Notched, Reed Side Notched, Bonham, and Koster Corner Notched types. Locally available Ordovician cherts and near local Burlington cherts comprised the raw chert used at the site. Non-local material was absent at Rohlfing.

Rohlfing Site Rohlfing Site

Starchy seeds were an important component of the Late Woodland diet at Rohlfing and consisted mostly of knotweed, but also included goosefoot, maygrass, and squash. Nuts such as hickory, black walnut, hazelnut, and acorns also constituted an important element of their diet as well. The high seed count for the site indicates that intensive horticulture was being practiced but the lack of maize suggests that actual agriculture or farming was probably not being employed. The faunal remains from the site do not provide much additional information on subsistence practices except that a wide range of animals were consumed, including various species of birds, turtle, deer, and maybe dog or wolf. 

Three wood charcoal samples from separate pit features were submitted for radiocarbon dating.  Two radiocarbon dates overlap with a date range of A.D. 720 to A.D. 970 (1 Sigma calibrated results).  The remaining radiocarbon date of A.D. 620 to A.D. 670 (1 Sigma calibrated result).  These dates support the artifactual evidence that this site was occupied in the Late Woodland Period.

The Rohlfing site has provided one of the first systematically collected, well analyzed Late Woodland lithic, ceramic, and archaeobotanical assemblages in northern Franklin County.  A technical report was produced by CRAI on the results of their investigation, Phase III Investigations at the Rohlfing (23FR525) and Schove (23FR526) Sites in Franklin County, Missouri (2006).


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