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Archaeologist discusses Civil War sites in Missouri

by Anakin Bush | March 22, 2023 at 4:01 a.m.
Anakin Bush/Fulton Sun photo: Archaeologist Douglas Scott presents at Westminster College about Civil War sites in Missouri and some of the artifacts found there. One of the battles discussed by Scott was the Battle of Moore's Mill, which took place in Callaway County near Calwood.

A presentation was held Tuesday at Westminster College about using archaeology as a method to reinterpret Civil War sites in Missouri.

The event was presented by Westminster College, the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society and Missouri Humanities.

The presentation, titled "Debunking Iconic Myths: Using Archaeology to Reinterpret Civil War Sites' Stories in Missouri," was given by archaeologist Douglas Scott.

Scott is an adjunct research faculty member at Colorado Mesa University, and previously retired from the United States National Park Service after over 30 years with the Department of the Interior.

In his presentation, Scott discussed archaeological methods that are used at battlefield sites to find artifacts and discover what actually occurred at the sites.

He discussed several Civil War battle sites across Missouri, including the Battle of Boonville in 1861 and the Battle of Moore's Mill in 1862.

The Battle of Moore's Mill occurred in Callaway County near Calwood, Scott said.

He joined a team to go to the battle site to find artifacts from the 1862 battle.

One of the methods used to find the artifacts involved the use of metal detectors, Scott said. Some of the artifacts found included bullets that were used in the battle. Some of the artifacts were on display at the lecture on Tuesday.

Another item discovered was a button that was on the jacket of a US Navy recruit.

"Why was the Navy there? They weren't sailing up the creek," Scott said.

He said the button probably came from someone who left the Navy or from someone who just had the button on their jacket.

Finding these artifacts allows historians and archaeologists to discover the truth about battle sites from United States history.

Scott closed his presentation by discussing whether or not the discoveries found at Civil War sites have any relevance today.

"History is important, and understand history and what happened and why it happened is good, but it has relevance today," Scott said. "...It's a topic that a lot of people are interested in because it helped form our country. Missouri is a classic example of tearing the country apart, literally brother against brother in the Civil War. And it's never fully healed..."

He said he used the techniques discussed in his presentation to testify in Iraq against Saddam Hussein in 2006.

"I am real proud of that and being involved in that," Scott said.

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