Digging Deeper into Missouri's Past

56% of $7,500 goal
This campaign ended on November 12, 2017, but you can still make a gift to Missouri State University by clicking here!

UPDATE: Thank you everyone!  The $500 matching funds from CHPA Dean Victor Matthews have all been added to the project, but you can issue your own match to help the campaign! 

We need your help to raise funds to continue excavations at an archaeological dig at the Sugar Potato site in Van Meter State Park in Saline County, Missouri. The excavations will begin on October 23, 2017 and end on November 3, 2017. The site occurs in an area where prehistoric Native Americans and perhaps even the historic Missouria tribe were mining flint to make stone tools. Previous excavations at the site near the mine pits revealed a long record of stone tool making, dating as far back as 2,000 years ago.

Your support will provide Missouri State students with the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking archaeological research.

Please consider a gift of any amount today!

For more information on this project, please contact JackRay@missouristate.edu at the Missouri State University Center for Archaeological Research.

For questions on incentives, to request your t-shirt size or schedule the site visit with your $500 contribution, please contact Glenna Dement at Glenna214@live.missouristate.edu.

*In addition, MSU alumni who make a qualifying gift of $25 or more receive an Active Alumni Member card. 

$100 incentive - One-year membership to the Missouri Archaeological Society (MAS). For more information about this membership, visit https://associations.missouris....
$250 incentive - One spiral-bound copy of "Projectile Point Types in Missouri and Portions of Adjacent States" signed by author Jack Ray, as well as one Missouri Archaeological Society T-Shirt. Multiple sizes available.

To read a transcript of the video, click here to download. 

Update: Final Day at the Dig Site

We reached the water table at 3.67 m (12 ft) below ground surface the last day of the dig and could not dig any deeper. Nevertheless, we discovered and documented four stratified lithic workshops (associated with nearby quarry pits) in the lower 1.5 m (5 ft) of the excavation block. Based on a Dickson spear point/knife and pottery sherds found in these workshops, it appears that the upper workshop is Late Woodland in age (ca. A.D. 800), the middle workshop is Middle Woodland in age (ca. A.D. 100), and the lower two workshops are Early Woodland in age (ca. 300 B.C.).  

Although the fieldwork has ended, we are entering the analysis and write-up stages of the project. We plan to submit several charcoal samples for expensive radiocarbon analysis in the near future, so please consider making a monetary donation today to insure that we are able to complete our analyses and date the interesting workshops that we discovered at the site. 

2447 days ago by Sandra Miller
Check out this unexpected surprise!

We got word from the site today that an unexpected Early Woodland Dickson point was found in knapping Feature 5 at 268 centimeters below the surface! Please enjoy the picture below, but bear in mind that we are nearing the end of our project, and if you'd like to see us succeed in digging deeper into Missouri's past, we need your help! Please share this post with friends, family, and coworkers, and consider making a monetary donation today!

2453 days ago by Glenna Dement
Recent Photos from the Sugar Potato Site!

Hello again, everyone! Check out these wonderful photos from the site! If you enjoy these photos, consider making a donation to help us achieve our goal! Please feel free to share this page and this update with family members and friends! Thank you everyone for your contributions thus far! You've helped make this work a reality!

Pictured here are Matt Nowak (left), Jennifer Rideout (middle), Brittaney London (right front), Jacque Griffith-Esala (right middle), and Alex (right back) during excavation!

Here's an overview picture of the main excavation block!

Here's another overview of the main excavation block!

2456 days ago by Glenna Dement
Unearthing features!

Hello everyone! Check out our most recent excavation update! In this video, Jack Ray describes some of the features they’ve uncovered so far as Matt Nowak excavates a possible hearth feature! If you enjoy our videos, and would like to see additional content from continuing excavations, please consider making a donation today! Your donations thus far have made this project possible; we thank each of you!

Video transcript: 

"Hi! We’re on the fourth day into the project here at the Sugar Potato site, and in addition to the lithic workshop features we expected, we found two unexpected features in the southwest corner of our excavation block. One of which was in the west wall and appears to be some kind of pit feature; we’ll excavate that a couple days from now. Then Matt just found a circular feature that has a lot of burned dirt, charcoal, perhaps animal bone, ash, and so forth, and appears to be possibly a hearth feature, so that was quite unexpected for this particular workshop site. It looks like we do have some habitation going on here at the Sugar Potato site as well as a lot of flint knapping."

Narrator: Jack Ray

Individuals in the Video: Matt Nowak (left) and Brittaney London (right)

2459 days ago by Glenna Dement
Excavations are underway!

Hello everyone! Archaeological excavations have begun at the Sugar Potato Site in Van Meter State Park!

2462 days ago by Glenna Dement
Thank you for helping the campaign qualify for matching funds!

Thank you so much to recent donors to our campaign through checks and other contributions!

John Wagemann

Dorthy Garrett

Florice D. Pearce

Many thanks for your generous support!

2504 days ago by Melanie Earl

Donor Map
Class LeaderboardThe Class Leaderboard reflects giving from Alumni, Students, Parents
AffiliationDonors$ Raised
Donor Affiliations
Gradhat icon23%Alumni
Suitcase icon33%Faculty/Staff
Friends icon23%Friends
Most Recent Donors
Judy Freeman photo
Judy Freeman
Jennifer Lopinot Stokes photo
Jennifer Lopinot Stokes
Michael Fuller photo
Michael Fuller
Neal H. Lopinot photo
Neal H. Lopinot
David Rohall photo
David Rohall
Judy Freeman photo
Judy Freeman
Rebecca Swearingen photo
Rebecca Swearingen
Judy Freeman photo
Judy Freeman
Bruce McMillan photo
Bruce McMillan
Deborah J High photo
Deborah J High
View All Donors


Glenna Dement photo
generated 1509 clicks and 4 gifts, totaling $450
Community Advocates photo
generated 1665 clicks and 5 gifts, totaling $175
Dustin Thompson photo
generated 176 clicks and 2 gifts, totaling $150
Casey Reid photo
generated 34 clicks
Bob Stringham photo
generated 20 clicks
Priscilla Childress photo
generated 13 clicks
Jennifer Rideout photo
generated 9 clicks
Dan Ettinger photo
generated 6 clicks
Kestrel Linder photo
generated 2 clicks
Jason Melton photo
generated 2 clicks