2021 CMA Virtual Conference













The 2021 Council for Minnesota Archaeology Virtual Conference will be held January 26 and 27 via Zoom.  You can download the conference schedule at:  http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2021-CMA-Virtual-Conference-Final-Program.pdf   You will need to be per-registered to attend.  Registration information can be found here:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16HA0TEgLecw6Y4xVHsooELbwFsI3_HnhttBeFpIzcUg/viewform?edit_requested=true


Statewide Survey RFPs for Two Archaeological Surveys

Today’s State Register for June 1st, 2020 (Volume 44, Number 49) included requests for proposals for two different archaeological surveys.  https://mn.gov/admin/assets/SR44_49%20-%20Accessible_tcm36-434230.pdf   I’ve copied them pretty much verbatim below.

The first on page 1446 is an “Archaeological Survey of Freeborn County, Minnesota”. The Minnesota Historical Society and the Oversight Board of the Statewide Historical and Archaeological Survey seek a qualified consultant to conduct an archaeological survey of Freeborn County. The purpose of the project is to summarize what is known about the early human occupation of the county, update the State Archaeologist’s site file regarding the status of known precontact and Contact period archaeological sites, and identify unrecorded precontact and Contact period sites. The cost of the survey should not exceed $100,000.

The second on page 1447 is an “Archaeological Survey of Two Counties in the Red River Valley of Minnesota”. The Minnesota Historical and the Oversight Board of the Statewide Historical and Archaeological Survey, seek a qualified consultant to conduct an archaeological survey of two counties in the Red River Valley; Kittson County and Wilkin County, located at opposite ends of the Red River Valley. The Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota is a distinct topographic and hydrologic region formed by the actions of Lake Agassiz, a proglacial lake present in Minnesota from 14,000 to 10,000 years ago. The basin and successive beaches of the southern portion of Lake Agassiz define Minnesota Archaeological Region 6. The cost of the survey should not exceed $150,000.

Either Request for Proposal is available by contacting Mary Green Toussaint, Contract Manager, Minnesota Historical Society, by e-mail only: mary.green-toussaint@mnhs.org

Due to COVID-19 and the Governor’s “Stay at Home” executive order, the Minnesota History Center is temporarily closed. All bids for either RFP must be received by Mary Green Toussaint, Contract Manager, by email only at mary.green-toussaint@mnhs.org by 2:00 p.m. Local Time Thursday, June 25, 2020. Late proposals will not be considered.

Bound By Earth: Archaeology in Minnesota

Bound by Earth: Archaeology in Minnesota a Twin Cities PBS original focuses on the science and new technology archaeologists use to uncover and preserve archaeological resources in a non-invasive way. Produced in partnership with the Minnesota Archaeological Society with funding from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  Premier broadcast is this Sunday, April 19 at 7pm TPT MN  Check listings for later broadcasts.

This is the result of a multiyear effort by the Minnesota Archaeological Society and TPT to present an alternative to the pseudoscience approach to archaeology often seen on media outlets.  It focuses on Minnesota archaeology, archaeologists and Native people.

LeRoy Gonsior

By now most of you know that LeRoy Gonsior passed away in mid-March just shy of his 67th birthday.

Long time close friend and colleague Dave Radford wrote this:

Retired Minnesota Historical Society archaeologist LeRoy Gonsior passed away in the early morning hours of March 12, 2020 from a blood clot. LeRoy graduated from St. Cloud State University in archaeology and started working for the Minnesota Historical Society in 1976 as an Archeologist Field Worker at Fort Snelling. LeRoy has contributed to thousands of projects over the span of his 40-year career with the Society. LeRoy worked for the Trunk Highway Archaeological Reconnaissance Program, the DNR State Park Archeology Program, the DNR Trails and Waterways Archaeology Program, and on various Society projects at Lower Sioux Agency, Historic Forestville, Split Rock Lighthouse, Harkin Store, and C. A. Lindbergh House to name a few. He retired from the Society in June of 2016.

LeRoy was frequently asked by his peers, both inside and outside of the Society, for assistance in identifying lithics and ceramics from Precontact sites. His knowledge of Minnesota archaeology and his ability to discover and record archaeological sites in the field have led to the preservation and interpretation of hundreds of archaeological sites in Minnesota. We will forever be indebted to him.

LeRoy was an avid outdoorsman and sportsman. He also loved to garden and made incredibly wonderful salsa. A gentle giant and a good friend to archaeologists, his passing is a huge loss to Minnesota archaeology. We will miss him.

Here is a link to his obituary  in the Star Tribune  https://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/0000349908/

LeRoy was a good friend and colleague.  The breadth and depth of his knowledge of Minnesota archaeology was matched by only a few.  He had probably forgotten more about Minnesota lithics than most of us remember.   When I heard he was gone my first thought was….damn LeRoy I still had lots of questions. Continue reading “LeRoy Gonsior”

RFP for Assessing the Archaeological Potential of Two Southeastern Minnesota Coulee Sites

The State Register for March 9th, 2020 (Volume 44, Number 37) included a request for proposals for investigating two archaeological sites.  The Minnesota Historical Society and the Oversight Board of the Statewide Survey of Historical and Archaeological Sites seek a qualified consultant to better assess the archaeological potential of the King Coulee (21WB56) and Dutchman’s Coulee (21WB55) sites in southeastern Minnesota. The goal of the project is to provide significant new information about the sites, most importantly determining the vertical and horizontal extent of the King Coulee site and the absolute ages of the cultural horizons at both sites. Based on an analysis of soil coring at King Coulee and on detailed analysis of previously recovered information from both sites, the consultant will  develop recommendations for a research design focused on completing a major archaeological excavation. The project cost may not exceed $100,000.

The Request for Proposal is available by contacting Mary Green Toussaint, Contract Manager, Minnesota Historical Society, by e-mail only: mary.green-toussaint@mnhs.org

Proposals must be received by Mary Green Toussaint, MNHS Contract Manager, or her agent by 2:00 p.m. Local Time, Thursday, March 26, 2020. Authorized agents for receipt of proposals are staff located at the Information Desk on the 1st floor of the Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Boulevard West, St. Paul, Minnesota 55102. Late proposals will not be considered.

National Forest Job Openings

I received the following job opening post from Superior National Forest.  Note that the window to apply is immediate and fairly short. (March 3-9,2020)

The Superior National Forest is looking for highly motivated candidates to work on their seasonal archaeological field crew.  They have multiple vacancies for GS-5 Archaeological Technicians, and one vacancy for a GS-6 Archaeological Technician (Crew Leader) .  Fieldwork will require approximately 50% travel time away from the Duluth, Minnesota duty station, and candidates will have the opportunity to work throughout the 2.6 million acre Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.   Online applications are open on USAJOBS from 3/3-3/9, 2020.  Hyperlink for applying is in the attached outreach form and below.  Applicants need to select Duluth, MN as the location.

Seasonal Archaeological Technician Positions outreach form:  http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/AT_5_6_SNF_Outreach_20200303.pdf

GS-6 application   https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/561576300

GS-5 application   https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/561383200

Note that if you go to the application page Duluth is not immediately listed you need to hit the “show more locations” option to find it.

  They have also included an outreach form for an architectural historian paid internship position they will be hosting in Duluth.

Architectural  Historian-Research Assistant outreach form:  http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/AH_SNF_RAP_Outreach_20200303.pdf

CANCELLED-Lake Superior Basin Workshop

May be rescheduled for a later date.
The 2020 Lake Superior Basin Workshop is scheduled for Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21  at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario,Canada.  Just a few weeks away!  This is a low key gathering of professional and avocational archaeologists.  The event is free and open to the public.  Attached is the flier for anyone who would like additional information about the event.  http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020workshop-maps.pdf

Wadena and Watonwan Co. Surveys

The Office of the State Archaeologist has recently posted a couple of reports for archaeological surveys funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment on its website.  The surveys were completed in Wadena and Watonwan Counties in Minnesota.

The Wadena County archaeological survey was completed during the 2018 field season by the Science Museum of Minnesota with survey beginning in May and concluding in November of that year. The survey involved surface reconnaissance of agricultural fields and transects of shovel test pits in high-potential uncultivated areas. The survey also involved the examination of institutional and private collections. Over the course of the survey 3,000 acres were examined adding an additional 36 new sites in the county. In addition to the 2018 survey a small scale excavation was completed at newly identified site (21WD0053) during the spring of 2019. Initial testing had documented the presence of a large number of sherds from a Brainerd Net-impressed pottery vessel within a charcoal rich burn feature. Follow this link to view the Wadena County Survey Report: https://mn.gov/admin/assets/2019%20Public%20Report_Wadena_tcm36-412083.pdf

The Watonwan County survey examined 4,326.78 acres and documented 16 previously unrecorded archaeological properties in the county. The study by the Archeology Laboratory, Augustana University, Sioux Falls included intensive archaeological and geomorphological investigations of select lands in the county. The geomorphological study focused on river valley settings in the county and the results suggest the stream valley settings offer only limited potential for harboring precontact archaeological sites. Of note is the ephemeral nature of the sites documented during the study, of the 16 sites located only two consisted of more than three artifacts. Follow this link to view the Watonwan County Survey Report: https://mn.gov/admin/assets/2019%20Public%20Report_Watonwan%20County_tcm36-412082.pdf

CMA Annual Meeting

The Midwest Archaeological Conference annual meeting begins tomorrow evening (Wednesday October 9, 2019) in Mankato with an early bird reception followed by an all-day fieldtrip on Thursday. Papers will be presented on Friday and Saturday.  You may register for the conference at the door.  Follow this link for additional information: https://www.midwestarchaeology.org/annual-meeting/upcoming

Pat Emerson

By now most of you are aware of the loss to Minnesota archaeology with Pat Emerson’s recent death.  Patricia Emerson, passed away Saturday, August 31. Pat attended Our Lady of Peace High School in St. Paul and studied Anthropology at Hamline University and Mankato State University before working as an instructor at Mankato State, and an Archeologist at Impact Services, Mankato. In 1985, she accepted the position of Program Manager, Minnesota DNR Trails and Waterways Unit Archaeological Reconnaissance Survey with the MNHS Archaeology Department.  In 1994, she became the Program Manager, Minnesota DNR Division of Forestry Heritage Resources Program, and in 2001 she also became the Program Manager, Minnesota DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife Cultural Resource Program. Pat took on the role of Acting Head of Archaeology in 2004, became the Head of Archaeology in 2005, and became the Director of Archaeology in 2013.  Pat’s commitment, compassion, and expertise held true throughout her 33 years at MNHS.

Pat was a passionate advocate for archaeology and for the programs she supervised. She was the glue that held Minnesota Archaeology together through her work with the Minnesota Historical Society, the Council for Minnesota Archaeology, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and the Minnesota Archaeological Society.

A memorial gathering will be held on Sunday, October 20th on the second level of the Minnesota Historical Society History Center, 345 West Kellogg Boulevard in St. Paul from 10am to 1pm.