Established 1935
ArrowheadsBottlesBig Eddy VisitationWhite River points from the Hogan siteClovis and Gainey White River drills from the Hogan siteMAS visitors to the Big Eddy siteShoe from Arnold Research CaveTurkey Tails from the Titterington CollectionscottsbluffPostersgraham cave ditch diggerLone Rock Petroglyphsslides20-25Graham CaveBig Eddy (2)Big Eddy (1)MAS visitors to Ray HouseJakie Open HouseRetallick and Haswell

Artifact Identification

The Missouri Archaeological Society supports responsible artifact collecting.

If you surface-collect artifacts, keep them separated by site. These archaeological sites can then be registered with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), MoDNR. Site locations are confidential. The SHPO will send you the site number to keep with the artifacts, or better yet, the artifacts can be labeled with the site number. These will still be your artifacts, but you will have done what is ethical and responsible to contribute to the archaeological record of Missouri.

An artifact out of context does not give the information needed. For this reason, archaeologists ask people to refrain from digging for artifacts.

Information comes not only from the artifacts, but from the context in which they are found. The association of an artifact with other stone tools and food remains, its depth below the surface, and the type, chemistry, and color of the soil surrounding it are some of the things archaeologists need to know.

Most people do not realize that they are contributing to the destruction of archaeological sites when they dig to "see what's there" in caves or elsewhere. These are non-renewable resources; once destroyed, they are gone forever.

Another thing collectors should be aware of is the Unmarked Burial Law. Reporting and disposition of human remains from unmarked burials are treated under Chapter 194, Missouri State Statutes [1992], as revised. Chapter 194 outlines the process and procedures to be followed, and identifies those charged with responsibility for its implementation. According to provisions of Section 194.410, any person or entity who knowingly disturbs, destroys, vandalizes, or damages a marked or unmarked human burial site commits a class E felony.

To report an unmarked burial in Missouri, call the State Historic Preservation Office (573) 751–7958.

To the Point

"To the Point" is a regular feature in the MAS Quarterly. To see excerpts from past editions, click on one of the following PDFs.

Breckinridge Raddatz
Cache River Rice Lobed
Calf Creek Sedgwick
Clovis and Gainey Searcy
Dalton and San Patrice Smith
Etley St. Charles and Hardin
Graham Cave Table Rock Pointed Stem
Hidden Valley Thebes
Jakie Stemmed White River
Kings Williams
Packard and Scottsbluff  

An Additional Point Resource

Visit the Ohio Historic Society's Web page, What's the Point?: Identifying Flint Artifacts, for more identification information.

For lithic terminology, visit the University of Florida's web page Lithic Terminology.

Recommended Reading

Chapman, Carl H., and Eleanor F. Chapman

1983 Indians and Archaeology of Missouri. University of Missouri Press, Columbia.

Gilbert, Joan.

1996 The Trail of Tears Across Missouri. University of Missouri Press, Columbia.

Hamilton, T. M.

2002 Native American Bows. Special Publications No. 5. Missouri Archaeological Society, Columbia.

O'Brien, Michael J.

1996 Paradigms of the Past: The Story of Missouri Archaeology. University of Missouri Press, Columbia.

O'Brien, Michael J., and Raymond W. Wood

1998 The Prehistory of Missouri. University of Missouri Press, Columbia.

Ray, Jack H.

2007 Ozarks Chipped-Stone Resources: A Guide to the Identification, Distribution, and Prehistoric Use of Cherts and Other Siliceous Raw Materials. Special Publications No. 8. Missouri Archaeological Society, Springfield.

2016 Projectile Point Types in Missouri and Portions of Adjacent States. Special Publications No. 10. Missouri Archaeological Society, Springfield.

This Web site is maintained by the Missouri Archaeological Society. To notify us of problems or to make comments, e-mail.
Last updated . © Missouri Archaeological Society