A Guide to Chersterfield Ancient History

reviewed by
written by Mark W. Leach John T Crowley

Purchase past Journals


A Guide to Chesterfield Ancient History, by Mark W. Leach is an impressive work. It is 8 1/2 by 11 inches in a soft cover format. This work was edited by Dr. Patti j. Wrights, Ph.D., for cultural content and presents American Indian cultural history in a chronological order beginning in the Paleo period. The Paleo period chapter features Dick Martens, and amateur archaeologist, and a site he discovered that was later professionally excavated by Dr. Julie and Toby Morrow. Dr. Morrow later wrote an article on the Martens Site that appeared in Volume 47 Number 2 of the 2000 Central States Archaeological Journal. The Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods are also well represented. This work blends the work of professionals, the efforts of avocational archaeologist, collectors, farmers and even school children, all of whom offered their artifacts to be scanned or photographed for this publication. This book is a monument to cooperation of those interested in archaeology in the Greater St. Louis area.

I have often wondered what motivates anyone to write a book. Mark gives us the answer. It all started with Mark's then 4 year-old son, Peter, when he found an artifact. Mark's motivation was simply curiosity. Young Peter and Mark were looking for tadpoles in a creek when Peter said, "Look at this funny rock." Peter's find turned out to be a 3,000 year old Late Archaic period knife blade.

To Mark at that time the Indians were simply mythical people who dined with the pilgrims and who later fought General Custer. "I grew up in Chesterfield and didn't even know people lived here for ten thousand years or more." Young Peter's discovery launched Marks quest to find out more the people who lived out their lives and raised their families in the place he now calls home. Did they live in his neighborhood eons before; how did they provide for their families? These were questions Mark wanted to answer. This book is the culmination of four years of effort, and it is a worthy contribution to the archaeological record.

You may order your copy of this book from Mark Leach at 1608 Ansonborough Dr. Chesterfield Missouri 63017. The cost of this book is $20.00 post paid. All proceeds from sales go to the Chesterfield Preservation and Landmarks Commission. This is certainly a worthy cause. I feel very comfortable recommending this book to our members.