The Bernice S. Warren Center for Archaeological Research

The Missouri State University Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) is a research institute that conducts archaeological field work and other cultural resource management projects on a contractual basis. It primarily serves municipal, state, and federal government agencies. CAR also offers hands-on experience for students interested in careers in archaeology and is active in local archaeological and preservation societies. For more information on CAR activities and other subjects, explore the links to the left.

Learn More About Big Eddy, One of the Oldest Sites in Missouri


December, Ozark Chapter of the Missouri Archaeological Society

Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Time: 7:00pm

Place: Center for Archaeological Research, 622 S. Kimbrough, Springfield, MO 65806


"The People of the River's Mouth: The Search for the Missouria Indians"

by: Michael Dickey

Site Administrator at Arrow Rock Historic Site


Few Missourians know about the namesake of the Missouri River and our state.  The Missouria were the first native nation encountered by Europeans venturing up the Missouri River.  Once numbering in the thousands, William Clark described them as "once the most numerous nation in this part of the continent".  When he wrote this in 1804, fewer than 400 Missouria remained. 

Dickey's presentation will reveal what is known about these people and what happened to them.  Information in this presentation is based on research he has completed for the first book published about this tribe, The People of the River's Mouth: The Search for the Missouria Indians, released by the University of Missouri Press in 2011.

Recent Projects

Points          Crew

Buried Steamboat Shipwreck Magnetometer Surveys on the Missouri River - Neal Lopinot and Dustin Thompson

CAR conducted three magnetometer surveys for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers during 2012 and 2013. They were located along portions of the Missouri River near Arrow Rock, Marshall, and St. Louis, Missouri. The goal of the surveys was to locate the remains of any buried steamboat wrecks that may be disturbed during the excavation of planned wetland rehabilitation chutes through the floodplain. The chutes, measuring 200 feet wide and 30 feet deep, will meander through the floodplain near areas where steamboats are known to have wrecked. Most of these wrecks date to the latter half of the nineteenth century when the river channel was not yet tamed. As the channel shifted, the wrecks were silted over, left buried beneath agricultural fields sometimes far from the modern river channel. The survey was performed using a G-858 cesium magnetometer. Many anomalies were identified over the course of the survey, but most related to surface or near-surface modern trash. However, one large group of anomalies was of sufficient mass and depth, consistent with what is expected for a buried debris field representing a steamboat wreck.

Anomaly 1          Magnetometer

Steam Boat          Cora Benton      

Survey and Assessment of Chert Extraction Sites in the Vicinity of Peoria Quarry, Ottawa County, Oklahoma - Jack Ray

This project investigated a three-square-mile area in northeast Ottawa County, Oklahoma, centered on a well-known prehistoric quarry site (Peoria Quarry, 34OT13). Peoria Quarry is by far the largest and most intensively exploited extraction site in the project area. The survey work resulted in an important revision of the boundaries of Peoria Quarry located on an east-west trending ridge. The goal of the project was to locate and describe previously undocumented extraction sites and other related sites associated with the procurement and use of local chert resources. Fieldwork consisted of an intensive survey of the three-square-mile area followed by limited test excavations (two 1-x-1-m units) at a specialized lithic reduction site (34OT86) located near Peoria Quarry. The survey resulted in the documentation of 41 prehistoric sites (36 new and five previously recorded), all of which can be related to the extraction and/or processing of local chert resources.

Peoria Workshops           Peoria Workshop 1

Peoria Mine Pits           Peoria Workshop 2

Peoria TU2           Peoria Tools

MSU Field School at Horseshoe Fossil Spring - Jack Ray

The Center for Archaeological Research in cooperation with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Missouri State University (MSU) offered a three-week summer intersession field course in archaeology from May 21 to June 8, 2012. This 3-week session took place at the Horseshoe Fossil Spring site, located on a ridge in eastern Lawrence County, Missouri. The field course was taught by Jack H. Ray, Assistant Research Professor and Research Archaeologist at the Center for Archaeological Research. Sixteen students received training in archaeological field methods of survey, mapping, and excavation, and basic laboratory analysis. Students also learned how archaeologists preserve and interpret archaeological materials. Artifacts obtained during the excavations indicate that the site was occupied intermittently over a span of more than 8000 years, although the primary occupations occurred during the Middle Archaic (ca. 7000–5000 years before present), which coincided with a warm and dry climate called the Hypsithermal Interval.

Horeshoe Fossil Springs         

Allen and Noknee Sites - Jack Ray

Data recovery (Phase III) investigations were conducted in the fall of 2007 by CAR/MSU at two sites located on the flank of the St. Francois Mountains in southern Madison County, Missouri. The work was conducted for the Missouri Department of Transportation because both sites were situated within the proposed construction corridor for the expansion of U.S. Route 67. Excavations at the Allen site (23MO1229) revealed a near single-component Late Archaic workshop focused on the reduction of a high-quality, fine-grained variety of rhyolite. Large flake blanks and initial-stage preforms roughed out at a nearby quarry (23MO1262) were transported to the Allen site for early- and middle-stage thinning and final reduction into Etley and Smith projectile points/knives. Excavations at the nearby Noknee site (23MO1203) revealed a temporary field camp that was occupied intermittently for more than 7500 years. A minimum of 10 separate prehistoric components are represented in the Noknee site assemblage.

points          points

excavation          backhoe scraping