Archaeology presentation Oct 21 1:00 pm

Archaeology of Pope County Presentation and Artifact Identification Workshop Oct 21

On Saturday, October 21 at 1 pm at the Pope County Museum, archaeologists working on the Pope County Archaeological Survey will talk about their current survey project, present preliminary results, and outline future plans.

The Pope County Archaeological Survey is part of an ongoing effort by the Office of the State Archaeologist and the Minnesota Historical Society to improve our understanding of the long-term history of the state.  Results will inform our understanding of Pope County’s past, guide land management decisions, and help prevent impacts to places of human burial.


Archaeologists from Archaeo-Physics LLC, including Dave Maki, Sigrid Arnott, and Kent Bakken will discuss the different methods they use, from field walking to ground penetrating radar, and about how artifacts are “de-coded” to help paint a picture of life in Pope County over the last 13,000 years.  The archaeologists will also discuss previous archaeological work in the county beginning in the 1880s, the kinds of archaeological sites that have been found across the county, and what these sites can tell us.

The talk will be followed by an artifact identification workshop.  Residents are invited to bring artifacts they have found, and project archaeologists will provide information on the age, function and historical contexts of the objects.

About the Pope Count Archaeological Survey

Beginning this fall, a team of archaeologists from Archaeo-Physics LLC  has been conducting a survey of Pope County archaeological sites.  The team has been working around the county, locating new archaeological sites to add to small number of known sites.  At the start of the survey, there were only 35 recorded sites in the entire county, plus unverified reports of about 20 more sites.  These sites range in age from a few hundred to a few thousand years old.  In comparison, other counties in Minnesota have hundreds of recorded sites, some as old as 13,000 years.

Much of the work involves walking through plowed fields looking for artifacts on the surface.  Exposed artifacts mark the locations of ancient villages, camps, and related sites that could range in age from a couple of hundred to over 10,000 years in age.  In areas that are not cultivated, small test excavations are dug and the soil screened to look for artifacts.  Lakeshores and river banks will also be surveyed from canoe, or by walking below the ordinary high water mark, since sites are often located along rivers and lakes.  At some sites, the archaeologists also plan to use ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity survey, and related “remote sensing” technology to create subsurface maps.  Archaeologists will also revisit previously recorded sites to update records, since some of the original, and only, site reports go as far back as 1886.

This project has been coordinated with the Pope County Historical Society, where artifacts not retained by landowners will be kept for display and research.

More information on the project team can be found at and For more information on the presentation and artifact identification event scheduled for October 21 at 1 pm, please contact the Pope County Museum at 320-634-3293 or

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