Towosahgy State Historic Site Information

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Towosahgy State Historic Site
Towosahgy HRoe 2009 02.jpg
Towosahgy Site main platform mound
Map showing the location of Towosahgy State Historic Site
Map showing the location of Towosahgy State Historic Site
Location in Missouri
Map showing the location of Towosahgy State Historic Site
Map showing the location of Towosahgy State Historic Site
Towosahgy State Historic Site (the United States)
Location Mississippi, Missouri, United States
Coordinates 36°41′36″N 89°14′08″W / 36.69333°N 89.23556°W / 36.69333; -89.23556

36°41′36″N 89°14′08″W / 36.69333°N 89.23556°W / 36.69333; -89.23556
Area64 acres (26 ha) [2]
Elevation299 ft (91 m) [1]
Established1967 [3]
Governing bodyMissouri Department of Natural Resources
Website Towosahgy State Historic Site
Beckwith's Fort Archeological Site
Nearest city Wolf Island, Missouri
Area116 acres (47 ha)
NRHP reference # 69000113
Added to NRHPJuly 29, 1969 [4]

Towosahgy State Historic Site ( 23MI2), also known as "Beckwith's Fort," is a large Mississippian earthwork mound site with a Woodland period Baytown culture component located in Mississippi County, Missouri. It is believed to have been inhabited from c. 400-1350. [5] The site is maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as a state historic site. The name Towosahgy is an Osage word which means "old town." It is not known if members of the historic Osage, who dominated a large area of present-day Missouri at the beginning of encounter with European colonizers, occupied the site. [6] [7] The site includes the Beckwith's Fort Archeological Site, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. [4]

History of Towosahgy

The earliest portion of Towosahgy State Historic Site is in the southern half, where a Late Woodland village once stood. Wilkie dates this component to about 400 to 700. [5]

Later the site was fortified and built up as a Mississippian site with seven earthwork mounds, most surrounding a central plaza. During this time, the site was surrounded by a palisade wall of vertical logs and a moat. [8] Like other Mississippian mound centers, Towosahgy also had a borrow pit, where earth was removed to create the mounds. The largest remaining mound is Mound 2, also known as the "temple mound." Excavations on this part of the site were conducted in 1989 by James Price. [9] The site was abandoned during the late fourteenth century for unknown reasons, as were many similar Mississippian sites in the region.

Ceramics from the site represent typical pottery found in the Missouri Bootheel region. Sherds from the Woodland occupation are typically grog tempered. The later Mississippian pottery is shell tempered. Type varieties identified include Baytown Plain and Mulberry Creek Cordmarked. Mississippian ceramics were also both plain and decorated. Punctuated, incised, fabric impressed, and red, black, and brown painted/slipped sherds, typical decorating methods, are all present. [5] [9] A large collection of ceramic vessels from the site are part of the Beckwith Collection displayed at the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum at Southeast Missouri State University.


  1. ^ a b "Towosahgy State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ "Towosahgy State Historic Site: Data Sheet" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. November 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "State Park Land Acquisition Summary". Missouri State Parks. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Beckwith's Fort Archeological Site". NPGallery. National Park Service. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Duncan Wilkie (1988). Field Work at Towosahgy State Historic Site. Cape Girardeau, Mo.: The Center for Regional History and Cultural Heritage, Southeast Missouri State University. OCLC  68738164.
  6. ^ "Towosahgy State Historic Site". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  7. ^ Missouri Archaeology Society (n.d.). "Towosahgy Site 23MI2". Missouri Archaeology Society. Retrieved 2017-01-01. (includes 7 photographs)
  8. ^ John W. Cottier and Michael D. Southard (1977). An Introduction to the Archaeology of Towosahgy State Archaeological Site. Missouri Archaeologist. pp. 230–268.
  9. ^ a b James E. Price and Cynthia R. Price (1990). Archaeological Investigations in Three Areas of the Towosahgy State Historic Site, 23MI2, Mississippi County, Missouri, 1989. Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri. OCLC  68738170.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter ( link)

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