Snyders Archelogical Site

Snyders Archelogical Site

Snyders is the name attached to the site of an important pre-historic Indian village on a farm owned by Andrew Snyders. The site is located in Calhoun County, Illinois, five miles north of Batchtown. It’s situated at the foot of the eastern Mississippi River bluff on a sloping terrace. It covers approximately six to eight acres of the bluff-base slope. Hopewell culture burial mounds are located on top of the bluff.

Artifacts first began to be systematically recovered from this site by Walter Wadlow, who discovered it in1940.

Among the oldest objects recovered from the Snyders site is a red ochre blade and three Morse knives dating to the Late Archaic to Early Woodlands Period. The primary culture using this site is Hopewell (Woodlands Period), with some material coming from the Late Woodland Jersey Bluff Culture (Jersey County lies just to the east of the Snyders site, across the Illinois River), which succeeded them. Overall, the age of the Snyders site is estimated to be from 1000 B.C. to 600 A.D.

For a period in the 1950′s Mr. Snyders allowed people to dig on the site for the payment of a small fee. From the 1940′s into the 1970′s the Snyders site was the scene of significant excavation, with some work being undertaken by university archeologists, some by serious amateur archeologists, and some by private relic collectors digging for their own collections or for resale. Prior to this period it is known that artifacts would surface naturally with the farm plowing, rain and other activities. They would be given or sold casually to interested parties with no records being kept or any interest expressed in their historical context.

Over the course of its excavation, the site’s name has been attached to several distinctive forms of artifacts recovered there, including Snyders points and Snyders plummets. Perhaps the most famous artifact coming from this site is known as the Ross blade. It is a large 7 inch brown/amber colored point made of Knife River Chalcedony from North Dakota. It is said to be one of the finest crafted points ever found in North America. The Ross blade was excavated in 1944 by Dr. Paul F. Titterington.

In addition to stone artifacts, the Snyders site has yielded significant finds in marine shell and pottery shards. It has also produced very significant and rarely encountered examples of preserved pre-historic plant life.

Reference note by p4A editorial staff, November 2011.

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