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


2021 CMA Symposium: Registration Link and Final Call for Sessions, Papers and Posters

Where: Virtual, Online (Zoom) The conference will be primarily “live” with some pre-recorded  components. Additional details to come.

When: February 26-27, 2021

The Council for Minnesota Archaeology (CMA) is announcing a final call for sessions, papers, or posters for its biennial symposium, to be held virtually on February 26-27, 2021. The symposium is open to all researchers at any stage of their career, whether academic, students, CRM or community archaeologists, to present recent research on any aspect of Minnesota or Upper Midwest archaeology.

Paper and poster abstract submissions should not exceed 200 words, with papers not to exceed 15 minutes in length. Posters will be presented between sessions and available online. Individual abstracts can be submitted to either: Bruce Koenen (bruce.koenen@state.mn.us), Amy Ollila (amy.ollila@mnhs.org), and/or Jennifer  Rankin ( jennifer.rankin@mnhs.org), no later than January 31, 2021

Registration: If you plan to attend the conference, you will need to be sent a Zoom link ahead of time to be able to join. To receive this link, please register here prior to February 26th. Attendance is free and open to the public.

Send any session requests and inquiries, conference format (including pre-recording options), and presentation questions to Jennifer Rankin (jennifer.rankin@mnhs.org), Program Chair.

Student Paper Prize: There will be a student paper prize award of $250 if a sufficient number of student submittals are received.

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.

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.

Head of Archaeology at the Minnesota Historical Society

The Minnesota Historical Society has posted a job opening for Head of Archaeology at the Society.  This is the position formerly held by Patricia Emerson who passed away unexpectedly in August.  Applications are due December 3, 2019.   Follow the link below for additional information  https://www.minnesotaworks.net/viewjob.aspx?jobid=10853594

Minnesota Archaeology Month

September is Minnesota Archaeology Month.  Each year the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) compiles a calendar of events which is then posted on the OSA web site:  https://mn.gov/admin/archaeologist/   If you are considering sponsoring, organizing, hosting, or leading an event during the month check out the these downloads for more information as to how to participate and get your event listed on the OSA calendar.



Request for Proposals – New Pottery Handbook

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

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

Request for Proposals Watonwan County Survey

The Monday September 25, 2017 issue of the Minnesota State Register (Volume 42, Number 13) contains an announcement of a Request for Proposals funded through the Legacy Amendment’s Statewide Survey of Historic and Archaeological Sites. This project is an archaeological survey of Watonwan County, Minnesota. Proposals are due on October 19, 2017. 

To learn more you can find this issue of the State Register at https://mn.gov/admin/assets/SR42_13%20-%20Accessible_tcm36-312533.pdf   The RFP is on page 396 of this issue.

Minnesota Dugout Canoe Project

The crew at Maritime Heritage Minnesota recently posted their report on radio carbon dating  dugout canoes found in Minnesota.  Wooden dugout canoes were in use from prehistoric times up through the contact era.  Since most dugouts have been removed from their archaeological context or have few or no diagnostic artifacts recovered with them radio carbon dates are one way to get an idea of their age.  The dates from the 8 canoes investigated ranged from precontact through historic periods.  Check out their well illustrated, interesting, and informative report.  This link will take you to their archive page.