23CN71 - Cobb Cave Site

The Cobb Cave archaeological site served as the archaeological field school for Missouri State University during the 1976, 1977, 1980, and 1986. It is situated in the James River drainage of the White River. The site is privately owned and is not open to visitors.


Entrance to Cobb Cave with a rain tarp shielding the test trench that extended beyond the dripline of the cave.


Entrance to Cobb Cave with a rain tarp shielding the test trench that extended beyond the dripline of the cave.


Cobb Cave before excavation looking out towards the spring (lower left corner) and terrace.




MSU students using line levels to measure depth of artifacts in excavation units inside the entrance of Cobb Cave.

MSU students inside the entrance of Cobb Cave.

Looking from the terrace into Cobb Cave and MSU students.

Rain shade protecting the test trench that extended beyond the dripline of Cobb Cave.

Test trench that extended beyond the dripline of Cobb Cave.

Test Trench extending beyond the dripline of Cobb Cave.


Careful excavation by MSU students at Cobb Cave. Five horizons were identified. Horizon 1 = Mississippian/Late Woodland. Horizon 2 = Middle Woodland. Horizon 3 = Late Archaic/Middle Woodland. Horizon 4 = Late Archaic. Horizon 5 = Middle/Late Archaic.


A layer of roof collapse was encountered at a depth of approximately 4 ft. (1.2 meters) beneath the surface inside Cobb Cave. The roof collapse is the contact between Horizons 3 and 4. Scale in feet.


Radiocarbon dates: AD 175 +/- 120 (UGA=1717), AD 155 +/- 110, 195 BC +/- 95, 230 BC +/- 120, 580 BC +/- 140, 890 BC +/- 110, and 1030 BC +/- 370. Hickory shells (Carya ovata), black walnut (Juglans nigra), butternut (Juglans cinerea), and acorns (Quercus spp.) were identified in Horizons 2 and 3. Three seeds of Goosefoot (Chenopodium spp.) were discovered in Horizon 2 while only 1 seed of Goosefoot were discovered in Horizon 3. Non-native cultigens, such as corn/maize (Zea mays), were not discovered in the analyzed samples.




Soil profile showing light colored soil forming Horizon 1b at Cobb Cave. Soil above the light colored zone is Horizon 1a and soil below the light color zone is Horizon 2. Scale in feet.


Animal bone in the profile of Cobb Cave. Scale in feet.


Bone tools: (1) grooved humerus, possibly pelican, (b) needle with large eye, (c) perforator, (d) deer ulnae, (e) grooved-and-snapped antler tine fork, and a polished tine awl. Photograph from Benn and Lopinot (1993: Figure 6).


Deer metapodials: (a) unmodified bone from lateral crack, (b) beamer made by cutting parallel grooves, (c) notched distal metapodial fragment, (d) distal metapodial with transverse groove, (e) beamer fragment, and (f,g) "fleshers" made from notched-and-snapped beamers. Photograph from Benn and Lopinot (1993: Figure 7).


A rectangular dolomite gorget found in Horizon 3. When discovered and cleaned one side appeared to have a sunburst-like design while the other side was decorated with a design that might be a human face. Both designs are hard to see in the photographs.

Bibliography

Benn, David W., and Neal H. Lopinot
1993 Prehistoric Occupations at Cobb Cave in the Western Ozarks. Missouri Archaeologist 54:55-78.


Webpage constructed 15 January 2006