Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
Ownership and Administration. Forty-two acres of this 200-acre site are owned by the University of Missouri and used for the Lyman Center for Archaeological Research. The remainder of the site, except for a small portion within Van Meter State Park, is privately owned farmland.
Significance. This site was probably the principal settlement of the Missouri Indians from approximately 1673 until 1728. In 1723, Étienne Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmond, a French trader, built Fort Orleans, a military and trading post, near the site, in present Carroll County. The Indians were apparently friendly with the French. Recovered artifacts include French trading items such as glass beads, brass ear ornaments and rings, and copper and brass for making ornaments.
The Indians probably abandoned their villages shortly after the French left Fort Orleans in 1728, for none of the larger items essential to life in Indian settlementssuch as copper and iron kettles, metal knives and axes, and gun partshave been found during excavations. Early cartography verifies the authenticity of this site. Marquette's map of his exploration of the Mississippi in 1673, as well as maps of La Salle's expedition of 1682, place the Missouri Indians in the area.
Present Appearance. The site is located on a range of low, broken hills along the flat river valley of the Missouri. The slopes, once grassy and treeless, are now covered with timber, except for a few cultivated areas. The 42 acres owned and recently excavated by the University of Missouri were formerly farmland. Excavations are conducted each summer from June through August and may be visited on weekends and holidays. Several buildings are in the area, and a small museum exhibiting excavated materials is open to the public. 
NHL Designation: 07/19/64
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005