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Mastodon State Historic Site
Mastadon SHS museum skeleton by Kevin Saff.jpg
Skeleton museum display
Location Jefferson, Missouri, United States
Area 431.14 acres (174.48 ha)
Elevation 417 ft (127 m)
Established 1976
Operator Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Website Mastodon State Historic Site
Kimmswick Bone Bed
SimplifiedPealeMastodon.jpg
Drawing of a mastodon skeleton by Rembrandt Peale
Location Jefferson County, Missouri, USA
NRHP reference No. 80002371
Added to NRHP November 5, 1980

Mastodon State Historic Site is a publicly owned, 431-acre (174 ha) archaeological and paleontological site with recreational features in Imperial, Missouri, maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, preserving the Kimmswick Bone Bed. Bones of mastodons and other now-extinct animals were first found here in the early 19th century. The area gained fame as one of the most extensive Pleistocene ice age deposits in the country and attracted scientific interest worldwide.

The site was purchased by the state in 1976 following an effort to preserve it from destruction with the construction of Interstate 55. Archaeological history was made at the site in 1979 when scientists excavated a stone spear point made by hunters of the Clovis culture (14,000–10,000 years ago) in direct association with mastodon bones. This was the first solid evidence of the coexistence of people and these giant prehistoric beasts. The Kimmswick Bone Bed was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Activities and amenities

A museum tells the natural and cultural story of the oldest American Indian site one can visit in the state's park system. A full-size replica of a mastodon skeleton highlights the exhibits. A picnic area, hiking trails, and a special-use campground offer chances to explore the land where the lives of Native Americans and mastodons once intertwined.

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