Archaeology in Pope County

IMG_2611It has been an exciting couple of weeks here in Pope County. Archaeologists from the Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Historical Society have been conducting a dig at the DNR office site. The DNR will be constructing a new office, and the archaeologists are digging at the site before construction begins next month.

 

This is the first archaeological dig in Pope County that is not a burial site, but rather a camp site.IMG_2608

They are finding potsherds from both woodland and prairie cultures, bones (discarded from meals), flakes of stone created in the making of arrowheads & spear points, and intriguing pieces such as a clay pipe stem and a bear claw.

All the artifacts will be cleaned, analyzed and cataloged over the winter.

IMG_2614The public is invited to stop out and visit them at the dig site on the hill above the trout ponds at the fish hatchery on North Lakeshore Drive. It is a rare opportunity for us all to learn more about the people who lived here before white settlement.

The team has been very gracious in sharing information with us here at the museum about the tools and pottery fragments in our own collection.

Here are a just few pieces they identified for us:

Brainerd ware fragment. Minnesota's earliest pottery. There is much debate about its age, but possibly from 1000 BCE (BC) - 400 CE (AD).

Brainerd ware fragment. Minnesota’s earliest pottery. There is much debate about its age, but possibly from 1000 BCE (BC) – 400 CE (AD).

 

Plains Village pottery fragments.

Plains Village pottery fragments probably from 1-1300 CE (AD).

Pecked stone maul head. The groove was made by striking this stone with another.

Pecked stone maul head. The groove was made by striking this stone with another. This was found in Barsness Park.

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