Neolithic Site 32km SW of St. Louis. In upper Mississippi valley, 2.5km west of Mississippi River, at confluence of 4 North American drainage basins (upper Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers). Where 30% of American contiguous land mass is drained.
Mastodon remains were identified, including butchering and human presence.
Laurentide ice sheet appears to have reach its max about 350km to east. By time of occupation (estimate, early neolithic), glacier tied 800km north (present day upper Great Lakes basin). The site was probably situated in mixed deciduous (oak, hickory) forest, mixed with prairie grasses. 127meters above sea level. The sites axis is oriented southwest to northwest, 2300 square meters. There is a 20m high limestone bluff in the north. With unobstructed views of the Mississippi River south east, and rock creek valleys to the south and west.
Founded by French/Creole fur trader, and St. Louis co-founder Pierre Chouteu in 1790s. The earliest known excevations were in 1839, by Albert Koch. Who recovered a American Mastodon (mammut americanum) for display at his St. Louis museum. Numerous others began excavation including businessmen who opened a museum at the site around 1900. And, Smithsonium archaeologists who couldn’t declare what was cultural remains, and introduced there after. Modern era of professional investigation began in 1970s, when government bought, in preparation to convert the mastodon state historic site.
7 discrete strata were identified including extinct and entact large mammals: mastodon, long nosed peccary and Harlans ground sloth. Numerous species of small vertebrates, and a large fire pit with Harlans ground sloth.
Though relatively few artifacts were recovered, apart from mastodon, presence of diverse abundant animal species,(white tail, fish, amphibians, reptiles (turtles, birds, small mammals), suggests site was adaptable to environmental conditions.
Bibliography: D. (n.d.). Mastodon State Historic Site. Missouri State Parks. https://mostateparks.com/park/mastodon-state-historic-site
Wikipedia contributors. Mastodon State Historic Site. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastodon_State_Historic_Site
Adovasio, J. M., & Pedler, D. (2016). Strangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals about the First Americans. Firefly Books.