The Dahl Site (23CY216) in Callaway County
is a dry rock shelter in
the Auxvasse Creek drainage. The site was
excavated by the Westminster College Archaeology Project in four
week seasons during 1973, 1974, and 1975.
The site was revisited and rechecked in a 10 day dig in 1983. All
work at the site was a combination of research and training.
Westminster College and William Woods College
students and faculty working in excavation units A-1 and A-2 outside the entrance
of Dahl Rockshelter. Co-Directors of the project were Dr. Christian E. Hauer, Jr.
(Professor of Religion) and Dr. John W. Page (Professor of
Anthropology). The site is situated on private
property and is not open to visitors.
Entrance to Dahl's Rockshelter.
Cultural remains (pottery,
lithics, and animal bones) were deposited during the Middle and Late Woodland
Periods. No datable carbon samples
were recovered. Field records are archived at Westminster College.
Excavation grid at Dahl's Rockshelter.
Excavation units A-3, B-3, C-3 and D-3 parallel the
dripline of Dahl Rockshelter. Excavation units A-1 and A-2 extended downslope toward
the creek and they were essentially sterile of prehistoric artifacts. Excavation unit
A-4 (lower left corner of image) was located deeper into the interior of the rockshelter.
Pottery sherds, a chert core, and mussel shells
exposed in the topmost layer of Excavation square B-3; 30 April 1974.
Cache of 50 fresh water
mussels, some still articulated and others that could be matched.
Professor Hauer interprets this as evidence of a feast.
Excavation unit A-4 near the backwall of the Dahl Rockshelter.
Photograph May 4, 1973. A modern pit (left side) intruded into the prehistoric deposits. A
plastic bag in the intrusive pit
contained a metal can.
Partial skeleton of a child found
at the back of the shelter in the
C trench during the 1983.
The skeleton appear to have been
cast headlong into the midden. The skull was missing and
the skeleton is incomplete.
Dentition charts indicate age at death about 9 years.
The skeleton was semiarticulated and there was no evidence of pot polish or butchering
marks on the bones. No there was no evidence that the bones broken to get marrow.
A complete grey wolf skeleton was discovered in the same depositional locus (layer of soil)
as the child's skeleton. The appearance of the burial was if it was a discarded child who
was not afforded burial as a human. The grave might have been intact and disturbed by
scavenging animals or it is possible that the child was an outsider to the group or had broken
a taboo which resulted in the seemingly insensitive nature of its burial. Gender of a child is
impossible to determine from skeletal remains.
In situ, articulated skeleton
a young adult male (age at death approximately 18) was found in the east
balk of the D trench. No evidence of pathology or trauma was visible on the skeletal remains.
His burial partially disturbed the feet of a adult female burial.
All human remains were turned over to Native American authorities for
reburial in 1996.
Cache of stone tools from excavation unit D-3
that were directly associated with the burial of the articulated young adult male.
Skull of the adult female
with evidence of trauma to mandible, cheekbone and left eye orbit.
Fractured left side of mandible belonging
to the adult woman burial.
Interior of left side of pelvis of the adult
woman showing evidence of trauma.
Green stick fracture of left tibia of the adult
Webpage constructed 4 May 2005
Webpage updated 4 October 2014