J. Mett Shippeel








Site Constructed 17 June, 2002

Revised February 28, 2003

Neathery and Michael Fuller,

Archaeologists and Web Designers

J. Mett Shippee's description of the Renner site from page 37 of his 1967 report published in the Missouri Archaeological Society Research Series Number 5:

The Renner village (23PL1), now completed surrounded by the town of Riverside, has been studied by amateurs and professional archaeologists for 45 years. Considerable excavation has been done there prior to 1955 by the U. S National Museum, the University of Missouri (Unpublished notes, etc. - - J. M. Shippee 1954), and the Kansas City Archaeological Society (Roedl and Howard 1957). About one-half of the site remains and will be available for excavation by competent institutions until the owners who reside on the tract sell the valuable land for business development.

The Renner village is one of a number of prehistoric Indian sites that are located near the junction of Line Creek and the Missouri River. There is some evidence of Paleo-Indian and other lithic complexes in the neighborhood, but the most notable remains are those of the Renner Hopewell and a Middle Mississippi village site which has been largely destroyed by the construction of buildings.

The pottery fragments recovered from the Renner site are most exclusively Hopewellian. Middle Mississippi sherds do occur, but are rare as are the other diagnostic artifacts and remains of that culture. No Black Sand sherds have been recovered, and the early rimsherds of the Middle Woodland culture are in a definite minority when compared to the crosshatched and rocker decorated ones. Study of the village material tends to advance the thought that the site was occupied later than at Shields [another Middle Woodland Period site along the Missouri River in Clay County] and that it too continued to be occupied until succeeding developments eventually culminated in the Late Woodland complex which is indicated by certain potsherds and the small notched arrow points. Some of the pottery vessels have forms that do not seem to be in the pattern of the usual Hopewell types. In a few specimens the older decorations will be found on a vessel that in its form surely is a later innovation. Throughout all these changes, the tempering material continues to be grit and the sherds are of a hardness of three or harder. This is typical of the Hopewell pottery from all sites in this area.

Projectile points are noticeably different from those of the Shields site. The broad corner notched types and the contracting stem types are both rare. Small ground stone celts are quite numerous in the village refuse. Three-quarter grooved axes are rare and their association with other artifacts is not established.


Excerpted from the obituary of J. Mett Shippee in the The Sun from 27 March 1985, page 6

J. Mett Shippee, who spent more than 70 years of life researching Indian cultures to become the leading archaeologist in this area for several decades, is dead at the age of 89 on March 26, 1985.

Mr. Shippee, a millwright, became an amateur archaeology in 1915, at the age of 19. He opened the Kansas City area to national attention on Indian studies.

Archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institute came to Kansas City in 1937 to look into the enormous wealth of Indian material that lay in every direction from the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. They not only found a treasure of artifacts but they found Mr. Shippee.

The Northlander guided them in their search and excelled in the field so well that he went on become one of them. For the next 40 years, he was to work the length of the Missouri River Valley from Illinois to the Northwest for the [Smithsonian] Institute and the University of Missouri.

A World War I Navy veteran, Mr. Shippee credited oneof his finest moments with a ceremony in 1983 in whic Park College presented him an honorary doctorate degree in science. He had nevered received a college degree but had earned his way with his collegues in archaeology through his years in the field, his discoveries and contributions to archaeology.

Mr. Shippee arrived in Kasnas City in 1907 at teh age of 11. He was born March 6, 1896, in Greenleaf, Kansas. Kansas City depended on Mr. Shippee for much of the work that brought the Hopewell Museum (no longer maintained by the county) and Indian archaeological digging site to Line Creek Park. Mr. Shippee had discovered a significant number of artifacts at the site during the 1930s. Bulldozers ripped through the site to install sewer lines and some of the site was salvaged, some lost, and a portion eventually protected.