MoDOT and DNR Agree to Preserve Artifacts
DNR has made a "treaty" with MoDOT to safegaurd Native American artifacts and to build a 4,500 square-foot stucture to house them at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, just south of Columbia.
The two agencies already are digging deep to build the storage facility for arrowheads, pottery, even "bones that are uncovered," said DNR's Sue Holst. "You know, not full skeletons but bones."
MoDOT uncovers most of the artifacts while doing roadwork.
"There's a federal law that says any time federal funds are used on a project, you have to consider that project's impacts on archaeological sites and resources," explained Bob Reeder of MoDOT's Historic Preservation.
That means the transportation department has to excavate and check, if crews find a site that their construction could damage.
"We have found some very early remains," added Reeder. "And we have found some very rich, much more recent, prehistoric campsites or villages."
Holst noted, "A new facility will be a much more adequate and a more appropriate place to store these human remains."
The building will house thousands of artifacts, but not for public display.
"The vast majority of artifacts that come out of those studies are not terribly important or interesting to the common person," Reeder explained. "But they're very important archaeological data to a scientific archaeologist."
MoDOT will pay $350,000 to construct the building, and DNR will pay $3,600 a year to maintain it.