700 North 1st Street in Laclede's Landing, St. Louis

St. Louis Community College faculty and students initiated an archaeological excavation at 700 North 1st Street during April of 2011. The excavation is a class project for students taking Field Methods in Archaeology (ANT 104) with volunteers helping from ANT 101, ANT 102, and ANT 206.
Checkout this link for streaming YouTube Videos of the dig: http://www.stlcc.edu/Newsroom/2011/06/News2.html .

Images of the china artifacts.,,,,..,........... Images of the glass artifacts...................
Images of the bones and shells.............

700 Noth 1st Street is part of Laclede's Landing and is approximately 200 meters south (downstream) of the St. Louis Mound group (23SL4). Two professional archaeologists, from St. Louis Community College, Michael Fuller and Monte Abbott, supervised the students working on the excavation. Several of the students had previous fieldwork experience at Blake Mound (23SL51) and other sites. The purpose of the excavation was to search for deeply buried levels of French colonial artifacts and Native American artifacts related to the St. Louis Mound group. Test drilling at the site, 10 years ago, suggested that it might contain "gray beds" with either Colonial or Native American artifacts Unfortunately, the Colonial and Native American deposits had been removed in the 19th century to create the foundation and basement of the warehouse. Many layers of fill soil were brought into the basement of the building in an attempt to dry up the damp basement. Intermixed in the deep fill deposits (dark gray soil layers) are burnt bricks and artifacts related to he Great Fire that destroyed much of downtown St. Louis on 17 May 1849. The fill deposits closer to the surface contain artifacts from the turn of the century including broken patent medicine bottles of Dr. J. H. McLean's Chills and Fever Cure.

The archaeological project area is on First Street between Lucas Avenue and Morgan Street. Older maps will sometimes have different names for these streets. First Street is sometimes called Main Street on some maps. Lucas Avenue was known as Christy and as Green on various older maps.

3D view of the Granite City USGS 7.5 minute topographic map showing the excavation area.

The STLCC archaeological project area is within the orignal boundaries of the French settlement of St. Louis. A house stood on the property in 1804 according to a plan of Block 15. The 2011 excavation area is located in the SE corner of Block 15.

Lot 700 North 1st Street before excavation.

Test trench measuring 2.5 x 5.0 meters laid out in a North-South orientation. The GPS location of the NE corner is North 38 degrees 37.812' and West 90 degrees 10.972'. The GPS location of the SE corner of the trench is North 38 degrees 37.810' and West 90 degrees 10.972'. These readings were taken with a Garmin handheld GPSmap.

Eads Bridge (completed 1874) in the background as the STLCC archaeology students start the excavation.

Grass removed from the excavation trench. The artifacts were kept seperate for the north and south half of the excavation trench.

Professor Michael Fuller sifting a random sample of soil from the top soil (Locus 01) to check for any prehistoric artifacts that might be admixed with the historic artifacts in the historic period soil loci. Approximately 2 cubic meters of soil was sifted by faculty and students during the excavation. No prehistoric material culture was discovered in the historic (19th and 20th century) soil deposits.

Crew photograph from 30 April 2011. Professors Michael Fuller and Montey Abbott are in the center of the group of students. Eads bridge and the Arch are in the distance. Photograph looking south.

Dime with the date of 1992 found in the north half of the trench, Locus 01 and an elevation of 130.95 meters above sea level. Brenda Thacker (STLCC - Meramec) discovered the dime.

Penny with the date of 1979 found in the north half of the trench, Locus 01 and an elevation of 130.90 meters above the sea level. Joe Klinger (STLCC-Meramec) discovered the penny.

End of the first day of excavation. Locus 01 (near surface soil with many coal cinders and wood charcoal) removed and beginning locus 02 (clay rich soil with many brick fragments). Ending elevation in the north half of the trench is 130.83 m.; ending elevation in the south half of the trench is 130.77 meters above sea level. Photograph looking North.

Plywood cover nailed to the ground to protect the excavation trench.

Mississippi River in flood viewed from the southeast corner of 700 North First Street. Eads bridge is in the background.

Mississippi River sculpture emerging from the flood. Eads bridge is in the background.

Crew of St. Louis Community College studentes and faculty on 7 May 2010 at the 700 North 1st site; depth 50 cm!

May 10th students working to deepen the excavation trench.

Photograph from the garage (East of 700 N. 1st) on May 10th. Metrolink offices are in the background.

Loci numbers on the fill units and features in the southwest end of the excavation unit.

Fragment of a "Laclede" brick in locus 013, immediately south of wall 012

I changed excavation strategy on 19 May 2011 when I decided to excavate a probe trench against the face of the limestone foundation wall. This trench has almost reached a meter in depth and the wall is still going down. Likewise, the ashy fill soil has changed from locus 11 to 15; the difference being that locus 15 has less broken brick and far more rusted nails. My plan is to excavate this probe trench to bedrock, which may be only another 40 cm below our current depth based upon the core drillings down by a St. Louis engineering company in the 700 North 1st Street lot.

Layer of wood planks (Locus 16) found at the bottom of the test probe on 25 May 2011.

Beneath the wood planks is a soaked mud layer (Locus 17) that contains broken bricks and 19th century window glass. The water is polluted and probably results from leakage from the nearby storm sewer and sanitary sewer.

Crew working at the site before the severe weather hit downtown St. Louis.

Crew working on the last day of excavation.

Crew working on the last day.

Crew excavating along the west face of the trench.

Backfilling excavation trench on 4 June 2011.

Helicopter view of the trench looking towards the east.

Helicopter view of the Arch and 700 North 1st Street dig.

Helicopter view of Eads Bridge (left), dig, and Martin Luther King Bridge (right).

Helicopter view of the excavation trench.

Backfilling the trench early morning 6 June 2011.

The dig is not over until the backdirt has been restored.

Noon, 6 June 2011 and the backdirt has been moved; a very hot day.

Webpage constructed 1 May 2011
Updated 9 June 2011