MODOT discovers evidence of first St. Louis settlers

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KSDK) - MODOT is doing $25 million dollars in work to the Poplar Street Bridge and the federal dollars that will help pay the bill require an archaeological survey to protect anything of historical significance -- a law that didn't exist when the bridge was built.

"Many people over the years have said…"there is no archaeology in an urban area, there is no archaeology in St. Louis," says the agency's Senior Historical Archaeologist Michael Meyer.

But last month, when Meyer and his team decided on a hunch to re-survey a section of ground under the bridge they found the outline of a home, remnants of dishes, and the only known physical artifacts of 18th century colonial St. Louis found in the city – dating back possibly as far as 1740. A find he says worth protecting.

"I think most people would say there's some value to spending a little bit of time, a little bit of money and preserving that for future generations," said Meyer.

Some of what Meyer's team found will be recorded, so it is protected, and left right where it is. Some could end up in a new museum going in under the Arch. And, Meyer says, this discover could change the way archaeology is practiced in an urban setting.


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