New book details history of local rock shelter

Monroe County landowner Melvin Allscheid has published a booklet about a land formation he discovered nine miles south of Waterloo, now named the Allscheid Rock Shelter.

The 23-page booklet details Allscheid’s discovery of the dry area under the cliff overhang and takes the reader through the artifacts Allscheid discovered along with his theories on the formation.

“This formation has been occupied on and off for 8,000 years,” he said. “So many artifacts have come out of it.”

Allscheid first discovered the rock shelter in 1974, when he and friend Brian Luhr were touring the woods on Allscheids property near Tipton.

At 80 feet long and 12 feet deep, Allscheid knew the formation had to be explored.

Allscheid said he wrote the book as a way to explain both the formation itself and what work he has done with it, since several people have asked him over the years.

“So many people have asked me about it over the years, and it takes a long time to explain,” he said. “This booklet explains a good part of it.”

After the pair excavated part of the formation for a little over half a year between 1996 and 1997, they brought in some professionals.

“I had the best brains in the world helping me,” Allscheid said.

He’s talking about Kristen Arntzen, a graduate student at Washington University who developed a plan and excavated the site, along with several other volunteers and professionals.

“(Arntzen) was a star student who worked out there for eight years,” he said.

In the many years the shelter was excavated, several artifacts have been found including pottery pieces and animals bones, which are documented in color photographs in Allscheid’s booklet.

“I have some theories of my own about what happened (at the site),” Allscheid said. “A lot of it’s unexplained. I was advised to put this in print so people didn’t copy my ideas and theories.”

Allscheid is selling his booklet for $10 at Cahokia Mounds. The Republic-Times newspaper office    (205    W. Mill Street,Waterloo) will also carry copies.

The booklet contains a forward from Arntzen and John Kelly from Washington University, along with a history of the land with maps, drawings and several photographs, all in color.

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