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Stauffer Site (23CO499)

Late Woodland pit featureThe Stauffer site was identified during the preliminary design to replace the bridge over Meadows Creek and the subsequent realignment of 1.4 miles of State Route 179 in Cole County.  MoDOT archaeologists excavated the site once it was determined that the site could not be avoided.

Large-scale excavation was conducted in 1994 to mitigate the impact of highway construction through the center of the site.  Hand excavation, followed by mechanical stripping of the historic plowzone produced diagnostic artifacts from the Dalton through Late Woodland periods.  The Late Woodland component is by far the most notable. 

Excavation revealed twenty nine features, including six hearths; five small shallow trash-filled basins; five deep, stratified pits; four earth ovens; four artifact concentrations; three post molds; and two features which are thought to represent dwellings.  Most of these features appear to be associated with the Late Woodland component by the presence of diagnostic artifacts.  Samples of burnt wood recovered from three pit features were radiocarbon dated.  Two dates significantly overlap and indicate an occupation between A.D. 650 and A.D. 860 (1 Sigma calibrated results).  The other date indicates a later reoccupation of the site between A.D. 990 and A.D. 1150 (1 Sigma calibrated results).

The investigation at the Stauffer site indicates that the general pattern for Late Woodland occupations in Central Missouri is one of relatively small, mobile groups occupying floodplains and terraces along creeks and rivers.  They cultivated native plants and, to a much lesser degree, maize. They also hunted (primarily deer; secondarily turkey, small mammals & turtles) and fished.  Ceramic analysis supports the trend of making thin-walled pots that are strong and efficient in transferring the heat needed for cooking. 

Late Woodland Archaic

A technical report has been produced on the results of the investigation, The Stauffer Site, 23CO499:  A Late Archaic campsite and Late Woodland residential site in Central Missouri (Hoard and Anglen 2008).  An article, “The Late Woodland Component of the Stauffer Site, 23CO499” was published in the Plains Anthropologist (2003, Vol. 48, No. 188).




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