West Central Minnesota Archaeology

Professor George Holley from Minnesota State University Moorhead recently completed a cursory inventory of a private artifact collection gathered in Douglas County, Minnesota.  Holley, whose specialty is pottery, is seeking to better understand Minnesota’s precontact ceramic chronology.  George’s report discussion focuses on the types of ceramics in the collection.  Lots of artifact pictures to browse.   Click here to view his report.

Gopher State Artifact Show

The annual Gopher Sate Artifact Show will be held at the Steel County History Center in Owatonna on Saturday March 21, 2015 from 9am to 3pm.  The event is open to the public.  There is usually a small admission fee and if you have an artifact you would like to have identified there will be lots of experts on hand to offer an opinion.  This is also an opportunity to get a sense of the rich archaeological history of the region.  The Steel County History Center is a great place for a show like this with lots of natural light.  Click here to download an event flyer with additional information.

Lithic Materials Workshop

I just received a reminder from the folks organizing the upcoming lithic materials workshop see below:

Hello, everyone–This is just a reminder about the Lithic Materials Workshop. If you want to give a paper or poster, have a display, bring materials to the lithic exchange, attend the Friday night reception or Saturday lunch, please complete the online survey by next Friday, February 14, to help us with our planning.

The survey is located at: https://uwlacrosse.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_54uPFPxe8LBxLsV

We hope to see you there!

Fri., February 28, 1:00-5:00 pm and
Sat., March 1, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
UW-La Crosse, Cartwright Ctr, 337 & 339

This event is free and open to the public!

What is it? This free, two-day event is an informal workshop featuring posters, papers, displays, and a lithic material exchange, with plenty of time to talk.

Who’s invited? Everyone interested in regional lithics and lithic raw materials-archaeologists, collectors, flintknappers, students, or anyone else who likes to discuss rocks and how they were used.

Presentations, posters and displays: Scheduled for Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. There will be plenty of time to talk, and we encourage participants to bring materials to show and discuss.

Lithic materials exchange: Saturday afternoon we’ll have a lithic material exchange so people can view and trade samples of raw materials.

For  additional information, and updates: http://www.uwlax.edu/mvac/Lithic.htm

Contacts: Kathy Stevenson, kstevenson@uwlax.edu and Connie Arzigian, carzigian@uwlax.edu

Gopher State Artifact Show

The Gopher State Archeological Society will host its annual Artifact Show at the Steele County History Center in Owatonna, Minnesota on Saturday, March 30, from 9 am to 3 pm.  The Steel County History Center is located at 1448 Austin Road, on the southeast corner of the Steele County Fairgrounds in Owatonna.  The event is free and open to the public.  Click here for a flyer.



Earlier this week I had someone show me a very unusual artifact for Minnesota, a bannerstone.  Bannerstones are usually found in the Eastern United States.  This link to Wikipedia provides some general information about them and their function.   This particular one was found 30 years ago during a construction project.  Most of the authentic bannerstones that I have seen from Minnesota, less than a dozen total, have been this rectangular shape.  The material it is made from is also similar to that of some of the other Minnesota bannerstones I’ve seen before.  One theory is that they were atlatl weights and would have been hafted as part of an atlatl, or spear thrower, as shown in the picture below.  The wood of the atlatl shaft passed through the hole in the bannerstone.  Bannerstones were used during the Archaic into Early Woodland time periods.

MAS Annual Meeting and Lecture

The Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Archaeological Society will be held Friday, April 20, 2012 at Sorin Hall on the campus of Hamline University.  Dr. Michael Michlovic, Professor of Anthropology at Minnesota State University – Moorhead will present a lecture titled “A Survey Archaeologist’s Perspective on Southwestern Minnesota Prehistory.”  The presentation will focus on the 2010 Swift County survey, while at the same time addressing some ideas about culture change, diffusion, and the beginnings of more settled life-ways in the later portion of the prehistoric period.  Some attention will also be devoted to the potential significance and drawbacks of archeological survey in an area such as the Minnesota prairies. 

Dr. Michlovic’s lectures are always entertaining and informative.  The cost is $20 per person which includes a buffet dinner and the event is open to everyone, member or not.  For additional information check out this link.

Fish Pots and Greasy Soils

Occasionally while excavating an archaeological site in Minnesota the archaeologists come across an especially unique and interesting feature.  In 2009 while excavating a site in Beltrami County the archaeologists from Two Pines Resource Group uncovered a fragmentary late woodland ceramic vessel that contained a large amount of fish bone.   This was unusual for a couple of reasons.  First, fish bone is so fragile it is often not preserved and second to actually have the recognizable contents of a vessel still present is a rare occurrence.   The only other similar occurrence I’m aware of here in Minnesota happened about twenty-five years earlier at another site on Forest Service land in an adjacent county where Hohman-Caine & Goltz recovered another Blackduck vessel with fish remains sandwiched between broken rim and body sherds of the vessel.
Continue reading “Fish Pots and Greasy Soils”