Dakota County Survey

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 

Arrowheads & What They Tell Us

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

Job Openings for Archaeologists

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.

Minnesota Archaeology Month

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.

 

Arrowheads and Stone Tools

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

New Reports Available

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

MAS Annual Meeting and Dinner

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

Tapping History

On Monday, March 12, as part of the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society’s ‘Tapping History’ series the folks from Maritime Heritage Minnesota (MHM) will give a presentation on Lake Minnetonka nautical archaeology and maritime history at the Excelsior Brewing Company (421 Third Street, Excelsior, MN).  MHM has been conducting studies in Lake Minnetonka to identify, document, preserve, and conserve wrecks and other submerged cultural resources on the lake bottom.  The presentation starts at 7:00 pm with doors opening at 6 pm, with limited seating, first come first served.

Lithic Materials Workshop Update

A preliminary schedule for the lithic materials workshop has been created.  There may be minor adjustments, but the dates and starting times should not change.  The event starts at 1 pm on Friday March 2 goes to 5 pm and then opens again at 9 am on Saturday morning.  Follow this link to the preliminary schedule and check back for any updates or changes.  http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Lithic-Workshop-Schedule.pdf

2018 Lithic Material Workshop

The 2018 Lithic Material Workshop will be held Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3, 2018 at the Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It will be a free two day event including the opportunity to present posters and/or papers on the subject of lithic materials and identification.   The workshop is meant to be a relatively informal gathering with plenty of time for professional and avocational archaeologists to visit and share lithic samples and artifacts.  The event is open to all interested individuals.  Add it to your calendar.  This link will take you to an initial announcement and call for papers and posters and contact information:  http://mnfieldnotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Announcement-call-for-papers.pdf