Boonslick Archaeological Society set to revive tonight

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | 6:53 p.m. CST; updated 10:09 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Archaeological Society headquarters moved from Columbia to Springfield a little over a year ago. Since its departure, the Boonslick Archaeological Society, which serves all of central Missouri, has been nearly dormant, said Earl Lubensky, one of the three initiators of the Boonslick group.

At 7 p.m. today at the Walters-Boone County Historical Museum, 3801 Ponderosa St., Lubensky and others hope to view the resurrection of the society they started 23 years ago.

“It’s all we have left,” Lubensky said. “We’re going to revive it.”

About a half-hour of business-related issues will start the meeting, followed by two presentations by David Sapp of the Boone County Historical Society and Lubensky until about 9 p.m. The two will delve into the details of an excavation they performed in June 2003 of a structure at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. They believe the structure served as the center for commercial and industrial activity for the farmers living nearby.

Sapp’s presentation will focus on the documented history of the excavation, including who owned the land and how they occupied it.

“There was a lot that went on down there, and people don’t necessarily realize that when they go down to the park now,” Sapp said.

Lubensky plans to present the findings on the structure’s excavation, including its multiple purposes, such as a possible post office or general store. Lubensky, who is also the only living charter member of the Missouri Archaeological Society, also said that he and Sapp found that once the structure was abandoned, it was cannibalized; some people took whatever they needed and left the remaining supplies.

Lyle Sparkman, president of the Missouri Archaeological Society’s board of directors, said he’s happy to see efforts to revitalize the Boonslick Archaeological Society.

“The chapter itself was at one time a premier chapter in the state,” Sparkman said. “I see it as a wonderful opportunity to provide a very active archaeological area.”

Sparkman said the departure of some of the leadership of the Boonslick Archaeological Society and disagreements among some members with the state society on how to record archaeological sites contributed to the demise of the Boonslick chapter.

“Plainly put, the Missouri Archaeological Society really does center at Missouri State rather than at MU,” Sparkman said, adding that more Missouri State archaeologists do Missouri archaeology than MU archaeologists.

Lubensky said that once the state headquarters left Columbia, the Boonslick Archaeological Society no longer had a place to meet without the support of MU, where the group formerly met.

Tonight’s meeting will serve as an opportunity for those interested to become involved with the Boonslick Archaeological Society. The only requirement is a $10 fee. The public is welcome.

“They have a lot of expertise in that group. I’m hoping it will bring some much-needed interest to the people of the area so they can really appreciate what’s gone on in this area,” Sapp said.

“You just won’t find another group with that kind of talent with such low fees on it. I think the only other requirement is just an interest in archaeology, and you don’t have to be a professional for that.”

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