Archaeological Collection

The Museum's massive archaeological collection results from federally mandated cultural resource management projects and myriad projects conducted by university faculty and students. The Museum has also long functioned as a repository for collections donated by members of the Missouri Archaeological Society, as well as for other personal archaeological collections. The majority of the Museum's archaeological holdings are managed by the American Archaeology Division's Curation office.

The archaeological collections are recognized nationally as being among the most important holdings of prehistoric material in the country. Containing millions of individual items, the archaeological holdings are systematic in scope and span the era of human occupation and the entire geographic reach of present-day Missouri (from ca. 8000 BC on). Major collections include those generated from excavations in Truman Reservoir in west-central Missouri and in Clarence Cannon Reservoir (Mark Twain Lake) in northeast Missouri. Collections from the seven Bootheel counties adjacent to the Mississippi River in southeast Missouri are also extensive. Materials in the Museum's collections include ceramics, lithics, metal, and faunal and botanical remains from a spectrum of functional site types, site sizes, and dates of occupation. Foremost among those are materials that postdate AD 700 and include remains from the Late Woodland and Mississippian periods. Information accompanying the archaeological collections includes an estimated 600 linear feet of documentary material (e.g., maps, charts, plans, excavation forms, reports, and photographs).

Notable items among the archaeological collections include the Jaguar Gorget (below), over 300 complete or restorable ceramic vessels, any number of well-made worked stone pieces (including the Lilbourn Mace), silver cones from contact-period sites, copper implements, and ceramic effigies of various kinds of animals.

In addition to the Missouri material, the Museum also holds small collections of archaeological material from other states and regions of the world, type and teaching collections, and the renowned Eichenberger collection of expert replicas of many of the world's most significant archaeological pieces.

Mississippian illustration
Mississippian & Woodland Artifacts some of the Museum's holdings of pre-European-contact artifacts


Eichenberger illustration
Eichenberger Collection expert replicas of many of the world's most significant archaeological pieces


Roman lamps illustration
Roman Lamps ceramic Roman lamps donated by Miss Eva Bowser



curation illustration
Archaeological Curation maintains archaeological collections and collection-related documentation


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Museum Collection Databases


jaguar gorget
Jaguar Gorget
Fairfield Mound
Benton County, Missouri
Woodland Period
MAC 2002-03-001


jaguar gorget drawing


bear effigy bowl
Bear Effigy Bowl
King Site
New Madrid County, Missouri
Mississippian Period
MAC1973-109


Museum of Anthropology, 100 Swallow Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-1440

Hours: Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

For Museum Questions, email anthromuseum@missouri.edu