Challenges and opportunities of archeology in urban parks: An example from the Arch

Author(s): Timothy Schilling

Year: 2015


Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is an anomaly in the National Park Service. The park was designated in 1935 as the first national historic site, memorializing America’s westward expansion, yet it is best known for the Gateway Arch, a modernist monument that towers over the city. Archaeological information from the St. Louis riverfront is sparse, but the park is located in an area that was densely settled from prehistory to the beginning of the twentieth century. In the late 1930s, NPS razed the historic city and then for the next half century completely recontoured the grounds in a series of cut and fill stages cut and fill as the monument was built. In the past, archaeologists have documented a few historical items encountered during construction, but intact features are rare. The CityArchRiver2015 project along the riverfront will involve deep and extensive excavations potentially exposing early undisturbed landscapes and features. Other aspects of the project may expose historically sensitive deposits within the Old Courthouse. The scale and extent of this project are atypical for the NPS. In this paper, I discuss how the Midwest Archeological Center is partnering in innovative ways with multiple stake holders to preserve archaeological resources during this project.

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Cite this Record

Challenges and opportunities of archeology in urban parks: An example from the Arch. Timothy Schilling. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396364)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;