Mendenhall Mound (23BO87)

The Mendenhall Mound was recorded by Carl H. Chapman during 1936 as measuring 14.6 meters in diameter and 0.8 meters in height. The mound was excavated by Dr. Earl H. Lubensky on behalf of the Missouri Archaeological Society. The Mendenhall Mound is one of the few Late Woodland Period burial mounds in Missouri that has been dated by radiocarbon analysis (uncalibrated C-14 date of A.D. 770 +/- 60).

Crypt of the Mendenhall Mound outlined in yellow. Photograph from the cover of the Missouri Archaeological Society Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 4 (October - December 1986). Photograph by Peter Nebergall.

Mendenhall Mound with stones still filling the crypt. Most of the stones were about 10 cm thick; the source for the stones was a nearby outcrop of the Jefferson City formation. Burial 1 can be seen along the north side of the mound, approximately 15 cm below the surface. This bundle burial included the remains of two adults, or one or two children, and a limestone pipe. Photograph by Peter Nebergall.

Peter Nebergall on top of a ladder on top of a car to get the bird's eye perspective on the burial mound. Photograph by Dr. Earl H. Lubensky.

Excavation of Bundle Burial 1. The bundle burial was placed in the trough between the stone cap and crypt wall after the crypt was closed. The bones in the bundle burial show less decomposition than the burials made inside the crypt.

Measurements of the femura (thigh bones) allow for estimates of stature for both adult male burials. Individuals 1 is estimated at 167.6 +/- 3.8 cm (5'6" +/- 1.5") and individual 2 is estimated at 165.7 +/- 2.8 cm (5'5" +/- 1.5"). Photograph by Dr. Earl H. Lubensky.

Dr. Jeffrey Yelton draws Bundle Burial 1 using a metric string grid overlay. Photograph by Dr. Earl H. Lubensky.

Another view of bundle burial 1. Photograph by Dr. Earl H. Lubensky.

An elbow pipe, manufactured from relatively soft, white dolomite was found as a grave offering in the Mendenhall Mound. Photograph by Dr. Earl H. Lubensky.

In situ photograph of the elbow pipe as well as several views in the laboratory. Photographs by Dr. Earl H. Lubensky.

Cluster of friable bone around a broken Boone Phase cordmarked pottery vessel (associated with burial 2) and crushed skull and base of another Boone Phase cordmarked vessel (associated with burial 3). Photograph by Dr. Earl Lubensky.

Drawings of the two pottery vessels placed as grave offerings in the crypt of the Mendenhall Mound. Drawing by Dr. Earl Lubensky.

Burial cluster 6 on the floor of the burial chamber. Photograph by Dr. Earl Lubensky.

Crypt chamber showing burial 6. Photograph by Dr. Earl H. Lubensky.

Mendenhall mound with stones removed from interior of the crypt. Burials 2 through 6 are contained on the floor of the crypt. Photograph by Earl Lubensky.

Trench extending westward from the apron of the Mendenhall Mound checking for additional features. Photograph by Earl Lubensky.

Proposed sequence of features in the Mendenhall Mound. Drawing by Dr. Earl Lubensky.

The fieldwork at the mound took place during the summer 1986. Dr. Lubensky established a datum at the center of mound and designated that point as 100N100E. The mound was excavated in quarters (A, B, C, & D) that measured 2 by 2 meters. The stone crypt walls were detected prior to excavation by careful probing with a metal rod. The excavated area was expanded 1 meter north, 1meter south, and 4 meters west. The stone cap was removed, stone by stone, then restored.
Note: A special note of thanks to Dr. Earl Lubensky for loaning the slides that were digitized for this webpage, and for his insightful explanation into the site.


Lubensky, Earl H.
1986 Missouri Archaeological Society Field Exercise 1986. Missouri Archaeological Society Quarterly 3(4):4-5, 15-16.

2007 Report on the Mendenhall Sites Excavations of 1983, 1985, and 1986 in Boone County, Missouri. Paper presented at the "Woodland Period in Misosuri Symposium" held in Arrow Rock State Historic Site on 8 September 2007

Yelton, Jeffrey
1988 Human remains from site 23BO87. Missouri Archaeological Society Quarterly 5(4):11-14.

Webpage constructed 18 August 2007

Updated 4 October 2016