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Simpson Street Free Press

Low Water Levels in Mississippi River
Expose Artifacts and History

The Mississippi River is the second longest river in the United States and is 2,340 miles long. Although the Mississippi River is a majestic river, there are still many mysteries in this river, especially regarding its artifacts.

The Mississippi River was discovered by an explorer named Hernando De Soto. He was the first ever Spanish conquistador to see this river. Currently, the Mississippi River is suffering from low water levels that impact drinking water. This has created terrible situations for farmers throughout the basin, causing the river to become exposed to its sunken past.

Relic hunters are people who hunt for artifacts and memorabilia from decades and even centuries ago. Most relic hunters use metal detectors to spot these artifacts. Riley Bryant is a full-time relic hunter. Bryant also works for History Seekers and the American Digger Magazine. He is also known as “Relic Riley” because of his amazing relic hunting skills. He started relic hunting at around the age of eleven, when he got his first metal detector. Now, at the age of twenty-one, Bryant started his own TikTok account, posting mainly about finding artifacts around the Mississippi River. Around 397.5 thousand people on this platform followed the many discoveries Bryant made in 2022. One artifact in particular, a Civil War-era cartridge box plate that carried ammunition, was a highlight of his relic hunting. He posted his discovery on TikTok and his video reached more than four million people.

The Mississippi River is just one of the many places where artifacts are hidden. Missouri also has a lot of hidden artifacts near islands and rivers. Tower Rock is a 400 million year old landmark that is near the island of Wittenberg, Missouri. Tower Rock is only visible in shallow water. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDOC), was frustrated due to the fact that many people were crowding and walking across the newly exposed sandbar, and were also climbing the rock. The MDOC issued a safety alert for visitors.

Artifacts are historical, valuable and treasurable. Each one carries a lot of history that makes them all very special. It is interesting to uncover artifacts in these waters as they give a glimpse into life in the past and allow for the continuations of studies.

[Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Wisconsin DNR; Library of Congress]

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