One of the most common non-artifacts shown to archaeologists are cobbles with spherical voids in them referred to by geologists as omars. Admittedly this was also the first thing I found when I was younger that I thought might be an Indian artifact. These are generally blue-gray to green-gray cobbles with round holes or depressions in them. Omars are often thought to be paint pots or bases for fire starters or drills by their finders. While they could have functioned as such, they often show no evidence of the wear or polish within the depression that such uses would have produced.
The holes are the result of the weathering of calcareous concretions from the stone. The base stone being harder is more resistant to weathering and the softer concretions weather away leaving the spherical holes. Here’s a link to a scientific article discussing omars and how geologists use them to track the movement of glaciers.
In July the Science Museum of Minnesota and Minnesota State University-Mankato excavated at the Ranelius site in Spring Lake Park near Hastings. The dig was funded by a grant through the Minnesota Historical Society funded by the states Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.
The work was undertaken to supplement and expand upon research completed at the site in the 1950s by the Science Museum. Fieldwork was completed by the end of the third week of July. Ed Fleming, curator of archaeology at the Science Museum has been writing a blog on the project.
Rod Johnson, President of the Minnesota Archaeological Society will be demonstrating how stone tools like arrowheads are made at the Welch Station access of the Cannon Valley Trail on Saturday September 4, 2010. Rod will be set up at the Welch station from 11 am to 4 pm. The trail runs from Cannon Falls to Red Wing and is an enjoyable days outing. At a couple of locations along the trail near Red Wing there are interpretive signs explaining archaeological sites adjacent to the trail. The Cannon Valley Trail web site also has a page about the cultural resources found in the area.
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