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Learn about Archeology 

Archaeology pictureEducators, students, and interested public can learn about archaeology through various resources available on the Internet.  Organizations discussed on the MoDOT Archaeology and the Public webpage have developed sections of their respective websites specifically for educators and students: Missouri Archaeological Society’s Of Interest to Teachers, National Park Service Archaeology Program’s Teachers Resources, National Park Service’s Teaching with Historic Places, Society for American Archaeology’s Archaeology for Educators and Society for Historical Archaeology’s Exploring Historical Archaeology.  Below is just a sample of additional resources on the Internet where one can learn more about archaeology.

In addition, MoDOT has produced an 11-minute video and the Archaeology Channel has two 30-minute videos that focus on Missouri archaeology:

Archaeological Investigations on the Avenue of the Saints – this MoDOT produced video shows how large-scale archaeological investigations are conducted on highway projects.  Copies of this video are available for educators.

Uncovering Ancient St. Louis – “Ancient history didn’t happen just in famous places like Rome, Tikal and Angkor Wat. It happened also in the heart of North America. Modern St. Louis residents may not realize that their city once hosted a complex Native American culture, represented by a cluster of mounds, possibly an actual city rivaling Cahokia across the Mississippi River. A small army of scientists, while uncovering thousands of prehistoric Native American archaeological sites around this fertile convergence of rivers, has some fascinating questions about what took place here.”

Footsteps into the World Beneath – “Six hundred years ago, humans, black bears, and mountain lions were inhabiting a Missouri cave. When the entrance collapsed, everything was trapped inside, creating a time capsule not to be discovered until a small hole in the ceiling exposed the cave in 1985. In this 30-minute documentary by Emmy-winning director Christian Cudnik, rappel 65 feet into the darkness and follow cave archaeologists as they document prehistoric footprints, rock art, torch marks, bear tracks, beds, and much more in this cave north of Springfield, Missouri.”

Archaeology on the Web


MAC Quest ProgramThe MAC (which stands for Missouri’s Ancient Cultures) Quest Program website is a cooperative effort between the Missouri Archaeological Society, Chesterfield Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the River Bend School District.  It is designed to help 4th graders learn about Missouri’s prehistoric past.  There is information directed for both teachers and students., and featured archaeological sites and excavations.

Cahokia Mounds“The remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico are preserved at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.  Within the 2,200-acre tract, located a few miles west of Collinsville, Illinois, lie the archaeological remnants of the central section of the ancient settlement that is today known as Cahokia.”  This website allows one to explore and learn about Chaokia Mounds.

Where the Wilson Meets the James is a virtual museum funded by a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council.  This museum uses archaeological research, artifacts and historic documents to tell the story of the people, cultures, and events that have left their mark on a piece of land southwest of Springfield, Missouri where Wilson Creek flows into the James River.  This area is associated with substantial long-term prehistoric occupation, as well as historic Osage, Delaware, and Cherokee Indians, Euro-American fur traders and early settlers, the White River Trace, Trail of Tears, and the Civil War Battle of Wilson’s Creek.  The Center for Archaeological Research at Missouri State University has conducted research in this area, commonly known as Delaware Town since 1999.”

New Philidelphia

From the website: “The history of New Philadelphia (Illinois), founded in 1836 by Free Frank McWorter, embraces the compelling stories of African Americans and European Americans residing in a community founded by an exceptional figure during times of extreme racism. Archaeologists, historians, genealogists, and members of the local and descendant communities are working together to advance research into this remarkable crossroads of families, merchants, farmers, and artisans, and to enhance their focus in our national memory and heritage. Join us in exploring these histories and debates which are stimulating dialogue and engagement at local, regional, and national levels. ”

Smithsonian EducationThe Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies hosts www.SmithsonianEducation.org, the gateway to the Smithsonian Institution’s educational resources and programs, publishes Smithsonian in Your Classroom (a journal for elementary and middle school educators), offers research opportunities and resources to the museum community, and conducts professional development programs for educators at all levels.  “Decoding the Past:  The Work of Archaeologists” provides three lesson plans, focused on Grades 3 through 8, to teach about the thought process employed by archaeologists.


Secret in the Cellar“The Secret in the Cellar, is a Webcomic based on an authentic forensic case of a recently discovered 17th Century body.  Using graphics, photos, and online activities, the Webcomic unravels a mystery of historical, and scientific importance. Online sleuths can analyze artifacts and examine the skeleton for the tell-tale forensic clues that bring the deceased to life and establish the cause of death.”  The site also has links for more information on Forensic Anthropology.



Texas Beyond History logo

Texas Beyond History (TBH) is a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, and in partnership with the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University and 15 other organizations. TBH’s purpose is to interpret and share the results of archeological and historical research on the cultural heritage of Texas with the citizens of Texas and the world. It is a virtual museum containing information on and images of many different aspects of the cultural legacy of Texas – spanning at least 13,500 years. It contains information for the public, archaeologists, historians, students, and teachers.  


"Davis Bottom is a residential community located in a valley west of downtown Lexington. Established in the 1860s, Davis KDOTBottom has served as a “portal” community for several generations of African American, European and Appalachian families who moved to Lexington in search of jobs, education, and a better quality of life. Significant portions of the community are being impacted by the construction of a new roadway - the Newtown Pike Extension. The Davis Bottom History Preservation Project is a collaborate effort among scholars, educators and residents to document and preserve the history of this tight-knit, working-class neighborhood." 

Historic JamestowneHistoric Jamestowne is the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. The town site is jointly administered by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and the National Park Service.  The mission of Historic Jamestowne is to preserve, protect and promote the original site of the first permanent English settlement in North America and to tell the story of the role of the three cultures, European, North American and African, that came together to lay the foundation for a uniquely American form of democratic government, language, free enterprise and society.  This website is one of the tools utilized to tell this story.


Journey to a New Land“People first arrived in the Americas at least 12,000 years ago. The timing of their arrival and the route by which they traveled are not known. Did they follow an inland ice-free corridor route from Siberia to the unglaciated regions south of the ice sheets? Or did they take a coastal route, traveling by boat down the Pacific Coast? Did people arrive during the ice age, or not until after the glaciers receded? This site explores these and other questions, and looks at some of the evidence and ideas that have been proposed to resolve them.”  This site has lesson plans for Primary, Elementary, Middle School, Secondary, and Post-Secondary levels.

MoDOT conducts archaeological surveys and excavations throughout the state to comply with regulations and as part of our environmental responsibilities.  These investigations provide archaeologists, professional and amateur, and interested public insight into unique aspects of the lifeways of the past inhabitants of Missouri.  Information on archaeology within Missouri and specific MoDOT investigations can be reached by clicking the title.

Archaeological investigations conducted by MoDOT over the last several decades have provided us with the opportunity to increase our knowledge of the prehistory and history of Missouri.  To learn about current research or past excavations conducted by MoDOT click the title.



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