The 2019 Council for Minnesota Archaeology (CMA) conference will be held at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) on Friday February 15 and Saturday February 16, 2019 beginning at 9 am on Friday. The conference will be held at the Atwood Memorial Center on the SCSU campus and opens with three presentations focusing on statewide updates from the State Historic Preservation Office, Office of the State Archaeologist, and Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. There will be special special sessions honoring the life and works of both Doug Birk and Steve Mulholland. On Saturday afternoon, the conference will end with the annual CMA winter meeting that starts at 3:00 pm. Coffee, tea and pastries will be served each morning for attendees who arrive early. Attendance is free and you do not have to be a CMA member to attend. For additional information and a conference schedule follow this link: http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019-CMA-Conference-Program.pdf
The Minnesota Historical Society and the Oversight Board of the Statewide Survey of Historical and Archaeological Sites has posted a request for proposals for the initial phase of assembling a handbook of Minnesota Precontact Pottery. The purpose of this project is to conduct literature and collections research, facilitate professional discussion and create a new classification system for Minnesota precontact ceramics that will form the basis for eventual production of a finished publication. Additional phases of work will occur as funding allows. The ultimate goal is to create a new version of A Handbook of Minnesota Prehistoric Ceramics originally published in 1979. Here is the link to the State Register where the announcement is posted on page 921 (page 9 of 14 of this issue) https://mn.gov/admin/assets/SR43_31%20-%20Accessible_tcm36-369656.pdf Proposals are due February 19, 2019
The Office of the State Archaeologist recently posted a report for another archaeological survey on its website. The survey was completed for The Board of the Statewide Survey of Historical and Archaeological Sites and funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The report is for a survey of Dakota County, Minnesota. Fieldwork for the project was undertaken in 2017 by the Science Museum of Minnesota with the goal of documenting additional Precontact and Early Contact sites in the county. The survey located 32 new archaeological sites. The results of the survey show a pattern of site distribution across the county which suggests that for millennia the major rivers and their confluences were the focus of large, long term settlement, with much of the county passed through on the way to these more favored locales. Follow this link to view a copy of the report: https://mn.gov/admin/assets/Dakota%20County%20Survey-Public%20II%20%281%29_tcm36-352763.pdf
The Pine City Area History Association will host Brian Klawiter who will be speaking about arrowheads and what we can learn about the past by examining them. Klawiter who is a geologist and archeologist will share his study of a group of local artifacts and explain that both the style of the arrowhead and the stone it is made from can provide information about the people who created and used these tools. The Pine City Area History Association general meetings are free and open to the public. It will be held at the Pine City Public Library, 300 5th Street, at 2 pm on Sunday October 21, 2018. See the attached flyer for additional information: http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Pine-Co-AHA-Oct.pdf
The Minnesota Historical Society is looking to hire an archaeologist to fill an Archaeologist II position. Here is a link to the job description http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/DNR-1183-Archaeologist-II.pdf Closing date is September 20, 2018.
The Minnesota Office of the State Archaeologist is looking to hire an assistant to the state archeologist. A temporary position anticipated to last three years. Here is a link to the job description http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/OSA-position.pdf The job is posted on the State of Minnesota Jobs site https://mn.gov/mmb/careers/search-for-jobs/ Closing date is October 2, 2018.
September is Minnesota Archaeology Month with archeology related events happening all across the state. Check out the Calendar of Events at http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2018-calendar-print-version.pdf to see what is scheduled. Be sure and check back regularly to see if additional events have been added.
The Snake River Fur Post http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/north-west-company-fur-post (formerly the Northwest Company Fur Post) near Pine City, Minnesota will be hosting its annual Arrowheads and Stone Tools days June 29 from noon to 4pm and June 30 from 10 am to 3 pm. Modern flintknappers will demonstrate their skill at shaping stone into arrowheads and other stone tools. This annual event allows flintknappers, archaeologists, and the interested public a chance to see and discuss how stone tools are made. There is an admission charge to the site, but no additional cost for the event. For additional information check out this link: http://www.mnhs.org/event/5381
The Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) recently posted several reports for surveys funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment on its website. The recent posts include county surveys for Le Sueur and Lac qui Parle Counties, a report on radiocarbon dating in Minnesota and an overview of the Archaic in Minnesota.
The Le Sueur County archeological survey, undertaken by the Department of Anthropology at Minnesota State University Mankato, was completed in 2014. The project involved an extensive background literature review, a re-examination of existing collections both public and private and survey of more than 2000 acres of land. Fifty previously undocumented sites were found. The report can be found at this link: https://mn.gov/admin/assets/LeSueur%20Final%20Report%20V1-public-2%20web_tcm36-334427.pdf
A radiocarbon study was completed by PaleoResearch Institute in 2017. The report was to summarize what was known about absolute dating in Minnesota, to look at the reliability of the know dates and obtain additional dates from poorly dated contexts. Reference samples from fish collected in 1939 and 2015 along with wild rice harvested in 2015 were also dated. A review of the Minnesota state radiocarbon record yielded patterns worthy of note. In particular dates on charred food crusts from ceramics often appear too old, so until reliable a methodology for processing samples is developed it is recommended that food crusts not be dated. Dates on mammal bones from Minnesota also provide a too-ancient chronology. Often comparison with dates on short-lived terrestrial plant remains is impossible, as they are not present in the archaeological record. Charcoal appears to provide the most accurate chronology for Minnesota. Radiocarbon dates on animal bones in Minnesota are often the oldest obtained for individual sites, cultural complexes, or within geographic areas. At present, the reason for this discrepancy has not been researched and remains unexplained. It is recommend not dating additional archaeological bone until original radiocarbon research can be conducted on recent specimens to verify that land animals, as well as fish and ducks (and other birds living on the water or harvesting prey from the water) yield discrepant dates. To learn more follow this link: https://mn.gov/admin/assets/Dating%20Minnesotas%20Prehistory%20PRI%20FRE%20Study%202017%20final-web_tcm36-334425.pdf
The Lac qui Parle County survey was completed in 2017. The project was conducted by the Archeology Laboratory at Augustana University. The survey investigated 4,500 acres of land and documented 46 previously unrecorded sites. In addition limited excavations were undertaken at site 21LP0011, located on Big Stone National Wildlife refuge. Previous work at the site had recovered a fluted point base and multiple overshot flakes suggestive of an early Paleoindian presence at the site. The units produced 251 lithic artifacts; the majority consisting of debitage. The report is found at this link: https://mn.gov/admin/assets/Lac%20Qui%20Parle%20Public%20Report%20Final%20web_tcm36-334426.pdf
‘Minnesota’s Archaic Tradition: An Archeological and Paleoenvironmental Overview and Assessment’ presents the results of a review of archaeological and environmental literature, the organization of a symposium focusing on local and regional Archaic topics, an evaluation of the utility of Minnesota’s current division of Archaic tradition historic contexts and a synthesis of the investigation results. Recommendations are made for future study. The report summarizes what we currently know about the Archaic in Minnesota and takes a critical look at how we interpret that period. For the avocational archaeologists there are well illustrated overviews of the artifacts and excavations at most of the major Archaic site excavations in the state. Follow this link to read more: https://mn.gov/admin/assets/MN%20Archaic%20Final-web_tcm36-334428.pdf
The Swift County archaeological survey which had been previously posted on the OSA site and inadvertently removed was also reposted for those who have not yet had the chance to review the report. The Swift County report can be found here: https://mn.gov/admin/assets/SWIFT%20CO%20SURVEYREPORT%201_31_11-public_tcm36-334429.pdf
Just a reminder for those of you planning to attend the Minnesota Archaeological Society annual meeting and dinner Friday April 20, 2018 that you need to RSVP by April 12, that’s this Thursday. Dr. Michael Michlovic will be the after dinner speaker presenting “The Archaic and Its problems for Minnesota Archaeology”. You do not have to be a member to attend. Here is a link to the flyer with the pertinent information. http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018-MAS-Dinner-Flyer.pdf
The 2018 Gopher State Artifact show will be held Saturday, April 7 at the Steele County History Center in Owatonna, Minnesota. The History Center is located at 1448 Austin Road, on the southeast corner of the Steele County Fair Grounds. The event is open to the public and offers an opportunity to see the region’s private artifact collections.