Happy Anniversary Koster

Forty years ago excavations began at one of the more important sites in mid-western archaeology sites. The excavations started as test excavations based on some Late Woodland debris. The excavations at Koster would end up revealing a history that dated back to the Early Archaic and uncover a total of 26 different occupations. I bring this up because The Telegraph has an interesting article on the site.


he excavations revealed that major villages were present at Koster circa 3300, 5000 and 6600 BC. Archaeologists found evidence of the earliest house structures in North America. They discovered one of the earliest domesticated dog burials in the New World (5000 BC). They found millions of artifacts and evidence of extensive trade networks that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Koster site set the standard for multidisciplinary archaeological investigation and reshaped how archaeologists have come to understand the lives of prehistoric peoples of North America.

On the Kosters’ farm, tucked away in a small side valley of the Illinois River south of Eldred, archaeologists excavated more than two acres of ground using block-style excavations, the deepest of which was 35 feet below the ground surface, during a decade of work on the site.

The article goes on to point out a couple of interesting things. First, aproject was started in 2007 to reanalyze the Koster material using up to date technology. Second, an anniversary celebration is being held on 10/24/09:

A 40th anniversary celebration will be held Saturday, Oct. 24, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., to mark the significance of the Koster discoveries. There will be tours of the site, special exhibits, presentations, a slideshow at the museum in Kampsville, and a free barbecue dinner starting at 5 p.m. at the Kampsville American Legion.

I may go, as this sounds fascinating and how can one pass up free barbecue?

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