Twin Lakes Site

Twin Lakes bifaces-webIn November of 2013, a group of St. Cloud State University (SCSU) faculty and graduate students visited the property of Mervin Eisel near Ft. Ripley, MN. The trip was prompted by discoveries of stone artifacts Mr. Eisel made in his vineyard during the previous few years. Prior to contacting SCSU Mr. Eisel had taken his artifacts to Jim Cummings (Mille Lacs Kathio State Park) and Cummings suggested he bring them to St. Cloud State University for Dr. Mark Muñiz to examine. The artifacts are of special interest to Dr. Muñiz as they are made from Knife Lake siltstone (KLS) and include a large broken biface that is reminiscent of those recently analyzed from Knife Lake in the Superior National Forest and also a parallel-sided bifacial base that is similar in style to an Agate Basin point (but may be a knife). Mr. Eisel also found a number of pieces of KLS debitage and a KLS boulder weighing 60-70 pounds in the vineyard. The boulder caught Mr. Eisel’s attention because KLS does not naturally occur in the field where it was recovered and the small cobbles that are located there are generally fist-sized or smaller. Mr. Eisel was interested in knowing if the KLS artifacts he found were from a larger site in his vineyard and he invited the SCSU group out to investigate. Continue reading “Twin Lakes Site”

2014 Lithic Materials Workshop

The 2014 Lithic Materials Workshop will be held at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse on Friday, February 28 and Saturday March 1.  The event will feature informal presentations and displays, roundtable discussions, a lithic materials exchange, and lots of opportunities to talk and network.  The Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center will be hosting the event.  Add it to your calendar, more information to follow as it becomes available.  Follow this link for more information. 

Survey of Pagami Creek Fire Locality

Our first guest post.  Submitted by Lee Johnson, Superior National Forest Archaeologist.

On July 9-13, 2012, six University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) field school students, UMD instructor Sue Mulholland, and Lee Johnson and Andrew Kurth of the Superior National Forest Heritage Program, conducted walkover survey of high-probability locations along the Isabella River and Island River, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, in central Lake County, Minnesota.  The 5 day field study comprised one week of the 6 week UMD Archaeological Field School, of which the Superior National Forest and University of Minnesota Duluth have partnered on for the last 25 years. Continue reading “Survey of Pagami Creek Fire Locality”

Upcoming Public Archaeology Events

Sunday July 15, Dan Wendt will present a program at the Boulder Lake Environmental Center on Boulder Lake Reservoir north of Duluth entitled “The Story in Stone: Potential Clues to Early PaleoIndian Lithic Technology”. Dan will explain the information revealed in the pattern of flake scars on stone tools and how archaeologists are using that information to better understand when the tools were made. The program starts at 1 pm. The event is free and open to the public.   This is one of a series of public archaeology events a the Center this summer.

Next Monday through Wednesday, July 16th, 17th and 18th, Archaeo-Physics and the Otter Tail County Historical Society will present a public archaeology program at Fort Juelson. Fort Juelson was constructed in July of 1876. The public is invited to tour the site or volunteer to assist with archaeological test excavation or ground penetrating radar data collection. Fort Juelson is located in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, approximately 2 miles east of Underwood off of Highway 210. Turn north on 315th Ave. This collaborative project will include personnel from Archaeo-Physics, the Otter Tail County Historical Society, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Historic Preservation Office, the MN Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Historical Society, and Courson Archaeological Research. Camping and lodging is available at the nearby Glendalough State Park. Please call Archaeo-Physics at 612.379.0094 for more information about the event.

Lithic Material Workshop

This week I received a flier announcing the dates for the Lithic Material Workshop at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.  It will be held Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25, 2012 in the Old Capitol Museum/Natural History Museum on the campus of the University of Iowa.  Check out this flier for additional information.  The workshop focuses on the subject of lithic materials and identification in the upper Midwest.  The event is sponsored by the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist, the Iowa Archeological Society, and the University of Iowa Natural History Museum.

Knife Lake Siltstone Discussions

I had the pleasure last evening to sit in on a discussion among researchers who have been exploring the Knife Lake Siltstone quarries in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) of Northern Minnesota.  While siltstone has been recognized by archaeologists as a distinct lithic material for a number of years, with a bedrock source of the material on Knife Lake, the extent of the quarrying activities at that location by early peoples has only recently been discovered.  The outcrops of siltstone straddle the international border and it was Canadian archaeologists who first identified siltstone quarry sites.  A forest fire several years ago in the BWCA cleared the dense vegetation on the Minnesota side and exposed extensive quarry and workshop areas.  The remoteness of the area has served to protect the sites, but also hinders the research of this unique cultural resource.  The local is being studied by archaeologists from a couple of State Universities and the U.S. Forest Service.   Continue reading “Knife Lake Siltstone Discussions”

The Minnesota Archaeologist



The latest issue of The Minnesota Archaeologist (Vol. 69, 2010) has just been published and is available from the Minnesota Archaeological Society.  It contains another set of interesting and informative articles covering a wide range of topics.  I’ve included the table of contents from the issue for your review.




Paleo-Indian sites at Thunder Bay

On Saturday, September 24, 2011 the Northern Lakes Archaeological Society (NLAS) is hosting a presentation by Dave Norris, of Western Heritage Services, Inc.  Norris  has been excavating a large archaeological site just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario.  The lecture is titled Archaeology in Thunder Bay:  How Modern Day Travel Corridors are Finding Ancient Ones.  The event will be held in the Superior Public Library, 1530 Tower Avenue, Superior, Wisconsin at noon.  For those who are geographically challenged, Thunder Bay, Ontario is just 40 miles from the Minnesota border and Superior, Wisconsin is across the bay from Duluth.

Continue reading “Paleo-Indian sites at Thunder Bay”

Lake Superior Basin Workshop

The Lake Superior Basin Workshop will be held this Friday and Saturday, March 18th and 19th at the Northwest Company Fur Post near Pine City, Minnesota.   The workshop is a rather informal gathering of archaeologists, avocational archaeologists, collectors, and the general public with lots of hands on opportunities to view artifacts and hear about ongoing projects.  Something of a last hurrah before the field season begins, the focus has traditionally been the archaeology of the Lake Superior Basin with archaeologists from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada in attendance.  It has gradually expanded to include any regional topic and has facilitated collaboration between archaeologists from different states and countries.  Continue reading “Lake Superior Basin Workshop”