Prehistoric Cultures of the Lower Missouri River

Published: August 13, 2013

Presented by Joe Harl, St. Louis Archaeological Research Center

From ancient mounds and small villages to bustling marketplaces, the Missouri River has been a conduit of human occupation for thousands of years. Archaeologist Joe Harl of the St. Louis Archaeological Research Center shared some of the amazing stories he’s dug up from the rich floodplain of the Missouri River.

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Joe Harl

Joe Harl and his colleagues at the St. Louis Archeological Research Center have been involved in many recent archeological digs revealing this rich heritage here. He shared his knowledge of the parade of cultures in this area, from the first hunting bands, through the widespread Woodland culture, the complex civilization of the Mississippians based out of Cahokia and the later groups moving through as Europeans moved into the area.

Two sites he focused on in his talk were the Dampier site, a Mississippian marketplace related to Cahokia discovered in 2009 in the Chesterfield bottoms, and the Callaway Farms site excavated near Mokane, Mo.

There is no one in the area that knows quite as much as Joe Harl about the latest discoveries of our heritage along the Missouri River.

Mr. Harl graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with an MA degree in Anthropology.  He has been performing archaeological investigations across Missouri and Illinois since 1978 with the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and has served on the board of directors for the Missouri Archaeological Society and the Missouri Association of Professional Archaeologists.

Top photo – a wood duck effigy, image courtesy of arc-stl.com. Bottom image from a story in the Suburban Journal
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Resources and Links

“Digging to Preserve the Past” – Oct. 11, 2009 Suburban Journal profile of Joe Harl


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