The Dig at Sappington House


The Dig at
Sappington House 2018

See the invitation to students to apply to the dig.


 All are invited to the dig at Sappington House

The Sappington-Concord Historical Society would like to invite
adults of the area and students of local schools of all grade levels to come see the dig. The dig at Sappington House is free and open to the public.

May 31-June 16, Tuesdays to Saturdays
Students dig 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. That is daily except Sunday and Monday.
Visiting hours to view the dig are from 11:00 noon to 2:00 pm on the same days.

Thur, May 31 – Dig set up
Fri, June 1
Sat, June 2
Sunday and Monday, no digging
Tues, June 5
Wed, June 6
Thur, June 7
Fri, June 8
Sat, June 9
Sunday and Monday, no digging
Tues, June 12
Wed, June 13
Thur, June 14
Fri, June 15
Sat, June 16 – Dig wrap up, no more digging

At the Sappington House in Crestwood.
1015 S. Sappington Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63126
Find the Sappington House
in Crestwood between Big Bend and Watson Road, across the street from Crestwood School.
is plentiful across the street from Sappington House at Crestwood School and on the municipal parking lot at Reco Avenue stop light at the end of the Sappington House pond.
Grant’s Trail
runs beside Sappington House
See directions to Sappington House

Who does the actual “down in the dirt” digging?
The dig at Sappington House is an archaeological dig for select high school students
to do the digging and for the rest of us to watch. The students are selected by one lead history teacher at each of the participating high schools. Each of the history and social studies teachers will be on site with their students each of the days of the dig. Two professional archaeologists from the AIA St Louis Society will also be on site to guide the students, instruct them in the ways of archaeology and to help them enjoy this educational summer experience.

All are invited to come watch
Please come to watch and enjoy the fun
, feel the fascination! 
The dig is not just for the students, it is for the general public to watch and learn right along with the students. The dig will be of interest to anyone from anywhere, but it will be of special interest to those in the Sappington-Concord area, which covers the area of the Lindbergh Schools in South St Louis County.

What to bring
Bring your lawn chairs. Bring your curiosity and sense of fun. Be ready to cheer on the students and staff.

What is expected to be found during the dig?
The dig is expected to produce small items that were broken, lost or discarded over the years. Items of higher value and usefulness would have been passed on or re-used over the years, so are not expected to be part of the findings of the dig. However, small things such as bones and bits of broken ceramic items may speak of everyday life in a way that is not recorded in historic documents from the day.

What happens to items found during the dig?
Items that are found during the dig will eventually become part of the collections of the Sappington House museum. After processing; cleaning, photographing and cataloging the items, they will become a permanent part of the Sappington House collections. These items, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem, will add to the knowledge of everyday life for the early Sappington families that lived on the site, as well as all the generations of Native Americans before them.

See more about the finds from the dig at Sappington House.

Why do the dig?
The dig will add to our understanding of everyday life in our region. After the finds have been analyzed, a report will be created by the AIA St Louis Society on the findings of the dig and their significance. The report will be available to the public as well as the Sappington House museum archives and the Sappington-Concord Historical Society archives.

The rich archaeological heritage of St Louis and Missouri
Besides being fun and exciting, the dig may turn our attention to what other possibilities await us at other sites through out the St Louis Metro region and through out the whole state of Missouri. Both areas are rich in the history and culture of Native Americans as well as early European settlers.

Contact Stephen Hanpeter, president of Sappington-Concord Historical Society, at 314-918-1617 or by email at

Follow dig at Sappington House on Facebook

See South County Times article on the dig at Sappington House, published June 10, 2016.

See photos of the dig;
Day one
Day two
Day three
Day four
Day five
Day six
Day seven
Day eight
Day nine
Day ten

Some of the kids portion on the dig crew, the dig at Sappington House

 Some of the kids on the dig crew, the dig at Sappington House



What can visitors see and do at the dig?

Watch the high school students as they dig and unearth their finds right before our very eyes, items that have been buried for years, decades and centuries. See the AIA field headquarters.

Interpreters from local university anthropology and archaeology programs will explain to visitors the dig at Sappington House, what they are seeing with their own eyes, what they are seeing unearthed right in front of them and how the work of archaeologists is done. Ask the people in the  DIG-it-yourself archaeology tent to help you understand the dig at Sappington House.

Hands on activities
Activities and displays available daily from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. Activities are age appropriate and will appeal to all ages. Activities include archaeological simulations. See page DIG-it-yourself archaeology tent

The Mystery Mural
Every visitor, kids and adults alike, will get the pleasure of revealing one piece of the Mystery Mural each time they visit the site of the dig at Sappington House.

Presentations by local archaeologists and historians are scheduled to talk at the Sappington House’s Library of Americana. They will speak on topics related to archaeology and local history. The talks will be from 1:00 to 2:00 pm in the afternoon. The library is air conditioned, but the seating is limited. See the full list of speakers on page History Talks at the Dig and descriptions of their talks.

Tours of the Sappington House
Built in 1808, the Thomas Sappington House is a Federal style red brick structure and fully furnished. Tours will be available according to the houses’ regular schedule.

Food at the dig
Fine food is available in The Barn Restaurant daily except Monday from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Barn Restaurant is right at the site of the Sappington House dig. Saturdays are picnic days. Bring your own lunch, or get lunch (or breakfast) from The Barn Restaurant. Bring a blanket to spread out on the grass.

Parking is plentiful across the street from Sappington House at Crestwood School and on the municipal parking lot at Reco Avenue stop light at the end of the Sappington House pond.

Goals of the dig

The mission of the Sappington-Concord Historical Society is to collect, research, educate and share history of Sappington-Concord area. Therefore the goals of the dig at Sappington House are to:
• Provide an extraordinary experience in history and science for the twelve high school students from the participating high schools
• Provide educational opportunities for visitors and the public to learn about archaeology and history of Sappington-Concord and surrounding South St Louis County area
• Contribute to the historic record for the Sappington-Concord area

The four sponsoring organizations

The dig at Sappington House is a coordinated effort of the following four organizations:
•  Sappington-Concord Historical Society
•  The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) St Louis Society – see web site or web site
•  The Sappington House Foundation – see web site
•  The City of Crestwood, Missouri; Department of Parks and Recreation – see web site

All of the sponsors of the dig are excited to be able to offer this fun and educational experience to the children and adults of the South St Louis County area. It is their mission to educate and inspire kids and adults to personally experience history, and in the case of archaeology, to feel the excitement of science too.


Sponsors of the Dig at Sappington House, June 1-11.

Sponsors of the Dig at Sappington House, June 1-11.

The idea of doing a dig at Sappington House started with Michael Fuller. The AIA St Louis Society had done quite a few digs for kids in the St Louis area over the years. Michael thought the Sappington House would be an ideal location. It was built just after the Louisiana Purchase, is a prime example of Federal style architecture and the house has been well cared for over the years.

Stephen Hanpeter, president of SCHS, saw the dig as an opportunity for the Sappington-Concord Historical Society (serving the area of the Lindbergh Schools which includes the Sappington House across the street from Crestwood School)  to carry out its mission of researching, preserving and sharing the history of the Sappington-Concord area. Education too is part of the organization’s mission. The dig at Sappington House involves Lindbergh High School kids learning about archaeology and the history of their area. Adult and child visitors to the dig also had the chance to learn about the same things.

The Sappington House Foundation which takes care of the house along with the owners of the house, the City of Crestwood, both saw the archaeological dig as a way to promote better understanding of the house and its history, as well as bringing visitors to the house to learn about the Sappington’s and their role in the history of the area. Of course the Sappington House museum will be the recipient of the artifacts found in the dig and the benefactor of the research done.

The 10 day dig produced many archaeological finds relevant to the history of the house, especially the discovery of the summer kitchen foundation along with the relics and remains which tend to verify the building’s use in preparing meals. The dig gave a number of high school students a hands-on experience with archaeology and historic preservation. Visitors to the site saw archaeology in action with their own eyes and were able to learn more from the displays and activities set up for them. The Sappingtonton House Foundation has gained much in understanding the history of the house and the people living there. The same for the Sappington-Concord Historical Society. The actual items found in the dig will become part of the Sappington House museum’s collection.

Who is who in the archaeological dig at Sappington House

The students and teachers
• The students
Lindbergh High School students: Alexis, Jessica, Evan, Osama
Ladue Horton Watkins High School: Grace, Mona, Noah, Hannah, Laura, A.J.

• The high school Social Studies, History teachers
Ashley Lock, Lindbergh High School
Eric Hahn, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Leaders in the participating organizations include the following:
•  The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) St Louis Society – see web site or web site
President, Linda Bickel
Head of Education Committee, St. Louis Society of AIA, Dr. Michael Fuller – see Dr Fuller’s web page about the dig at Sappington House
See the web page that Dr Fuller maintains for AIA St Louis to publicize AIA events in St Louis

•  Sappington-Concord Historical Society
President, Stephen Hanpeter
The SCHS board of directors and officers
The SCHS dig at Sappinton House committee, led by Rachel Azzara Murphy, Eyreka Peterson Grider

•  The Sappington House Foundation – see web site
The Sappington House Foundation board, President Suzanne Leopold
Sappington House Historian, Enid Barnes
Sappington House Resident Manager, Sally Cakouros

•  The City of Crestwood, Missouri, Department of Parks and Recreation – see web site
City of Crestwood Mayor, Greg Roby
Manager of the City of Crestwood Parks and Recreation Department, Todd Stover

Other organizations and individuals
Perhaps it needs to be said that other organizations and many individuals besides the four sponsoring organizations listed above are contributing to the dig at Sappington House. They are contributing time, talent, resources and money.

• Archaeologists managing the dig
Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis, Inc.
2812 Woodson Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63114
Phone: 314-426-2577 FAX: 314-426-2599 E-Mail: Website:
Principal Investigator, Robin Machiran
Assisting Investigator, Joe Harl
Assisting Investigator, John Klein

• Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site for hosting the November 20 Student Presentations
Julie Northrip
David Newmann
Bob Pollock, Shawn Williams, Nick Sacco

• SCHS member funders
Wanda, Butch and Linda, Bill, Carl and Gloria among others

Student Presentation: Experiences and Findings.

November 20, Sunday at 2:00 pm
Reports on the archaeological dig at Sappington House by the students; their experiences and their findings.
Hosting the event is Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site at 7400 Grant Road, St. Louis, MO 63123
Auditorium seating is limited to 70 people.
Please RSVP to Stephen Hanpeter at or call 314-918-1617

See quotes from the students’ presentations.

See the excavation exhibit page.

See posting by Lindbergh Schools on the student presentations

See SunCrest Call newspaper report on the presentations

See photos of the student presentations on November 20

Archaeology resources for kids and adults

For kids and adults
Archaeological Institute of America – Introduction to Archaeology

For kids
Project Arch-ae-o is a web site for kids to have fun with the archaeology of Cahokia Mounds.

For the dig students
Documents on the Sappington House and the Sappington family – resources for dig students

Resources from Dr Micheal Fuller – Frontier/Historic Sites
         Missouri Archaeological Society