Dating in Sandy Lake

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For questions or changes regarding reservations please call . Many site evaluation and data recovery projects on the Chippewa National Forest provideinsight into the human history of the Mississippi Headwaters area. These also contributeto three major research topics currently of interest in the regional area: ceramic types,stone materials profiles, and water oriented settlement patterns. Much of the recentresearch into ceramics of the Brainerd culture was assisted by Forest collections.

Although the are public information, most of the Chippewa National Forest studiesremain little known. Federal lawprohibits unauthorized digging at these sites. Replacement of a bridge prompted evaluation of a Woodland site located on both sides ofthe creek. In The site was once used as a short term stopping place by travelers over a long periodof time. While few ceramic artifacts were found, numerous projectile points werepresent. There is little evidence that tools were manufactured here and maintenanceappears to have been the primary activity. Artifacts of the Blackduck culture AD were not well represented, suggestinghigher lake levels made the site less favorable along travel routes of that time.

Duringthe Sandy Lake culture time period, lake levels appear to be lower. Increased use of thesite is suggested by the large and variety of ceramics found. A proposed bridge replacement prompted an evaluation of a Late Woodland site here. In, A large of ceramic vessels were recovered, indicating substantial foodprocessing and preparation once occurred here. Radiocarbon dates for the vessels rangedfrom AD to Heaviest use of the site probably occurred between AD and ,with a series of occupations ending around Bog conditions once encroached on theriver margins downstream from the site, when water levels in Lake Winnibigoshish were lowand water shifted to the present lake outlet.

This would have left the site far upstreamfrom the inlet and the site was likely abandoned about this time. The site represents a fish procurement and processing village occupied during thespring. Fishing activities probably focused on the spring spawning runs of sucker. Excavations at this site have pushed inland fishery use back to beginning of the Late Woodland period in the Headwaters area, since it is one of the fewfishery sites known outside of the Great Lakes.

This large, complex site was located within the reconstruction area for a forest road. Evaluation and data recovery excavations occurred in square meters during Near the creek source an extensive sphagnum bog occupies the filled basin of a formerlake.

The site was along a series of gently rolling ridges which represented the ancientlakeshore, up to 14 meters above the creek level. In general the site is characterized by low to moderate density of artifacts, withunusually high concentrations of fire-cracked rock. At least four occupation areas weredefined, with up to eight possible "components" ranging from the Archaic to LateWoodland periods. Radiocarbon datable materials were not recovered. A series of repeated,very short-term occupations occurred rather than a few longer habitation episodes. The most striking archaeological feature of this site is the unusually dense deposit offire-cracked rock within windblown sand where rock did not occur naturally.

Largequantities of rocks must have been brought to the site for a specific purpose. One activity whichproduces large amounts of fire-cracked rock with little other remains is the sweat lodge. The lack of evidence of other activities, such as food procurement or preparation,supports this hypothesis.

An evaluation was completed prior to campground modifications and shorelinestabilization. During42 shovel tests and four square meters were excavated. Cultural materials included stone and bone fragments only; no ceramics were recovered. Thequantity of animal bone and stone materials, and a feature of unknown purpose, indicatedconcentrated and consistent use of this site, possibly during the Archaic period. The site was frequently utilized by Archaic, Initial and Terminal Woodlandpeoples. The majority of cultural materials were prehistoric ceramics from severalcultures; the Blackduck, Brainerd, Laurel, and Sandy Lake.

At least ten types of stonematerials were represented. Copper artifacts have also been recovered here. It is unclearwhether a preceramic "component" is present or not. The distributionof artifactssuggests that activity areas are present, and that some components may be separatedhorizontally within the site. Evaluation and data recovery excavations were conducted in during thereconstruction of a county road.

A total of 23 square meters were examined. A major site function has not been determined. Activities involving ceramics aredominant. Animal and plant materials were in low quantity and stone tool manufacture wasnot indicated. The distribution of materials and fire-cracked rock suggest two occupationzones, one from eastern sources and one from western sources. Ceramics of the Brainerdculture were relatively abundant.

Evidenceof the Laurel culture was in physical association with the Brainerd. Radiocarbon dates from charcoal and organic residue on a Brainerd culture pottery sherdrecovered within a distinct pit feature raised questions about the source of the datedmaterials. The wood charcoal dates ranged from AD 65 towhile the organic residueranged from to BC. Although both sets of materials came from the same featurelocation, there is not the expected overlap of dates. Other research suggests datingorganic residue is untrustworthy.

The discrepancy may not be resolvable for this site butadditional dating of co-located materials at other sites may help indicate if this is ananomaly unique to the Third River pit. Initial reconnaissance and shovel testing was conducted in and The followingyear Leech Lake Heritage Sites Program and Hamline University archeological field schoolexcavated to determine the nature of the sites and their potential eligibility for theNational Register of Historic Places.

At Richards Townsite, examination of 35 meters identified a Blackduck cultureoccupation and a possible earlier Archaic occupation. Radiometric dates on similarBlackduck ceramics from other sites cluster around AD. There was a very low density ofartifacts, suggesting a very early occupation of brief duration. A similar early Blackduck culture occupation was identified at Sugar Lake. Thirtysquare meters were excavated. A much larger quantity of materials was found, suggestingvery intense occupations over a short time period.

The presence of woodyplants indicates ashift of prairie plant life and what may be the first documented presence of wild ricemacrofossils at a Blackduck occupation site.

Dating in Sandy Lake

Both sites are near but not directly on the present shoreline of Lake Winnibigoshish,and were probably occupied when Lake Winnie was three to five feet higher than its presentlevel. The site was evaluated by the Hamline University field school in when a boataccess was scheduled for modification. Nine square meters were examined to determine thenature and extent of the site and its potential eligibility for the National Register ofHistoric Places. The site was situated above the present lake level on an extremely shallow bay known tobe dry during periods of drought.

It was probably occupied during a period of much higherwater levels, where it would have been located at a "saddle" or constriction oftwo peninsulas. Possibly it was on a canoe access route used to reach Leech Lake. Sevens square meters were excavated in in an area proposed for campsiteimprovements. Occupation at this site dates from the Late Woodland period. Although thesite is small, the undisturbed Blackduck culture deposits suggest a single occupation. Ceramic materials appear to date to AD based on comparison to similar materialsrecovered from other sites.

Evidence of the Sandy Lake culture also appears. Generally, where Blackduck and SandyLake appear on the same site the materials are mixed, making it difficult to separate thecomponents. A noteworthy Sandy Lake vessel was found.

Similar ceramics have been nicknamed"Sandyota" or "Sandy-O" because of the combination of Oneota-styledecorative motifs applied to a Sandy Lake vessel.

Dating in Sandy Lake

These hybrid ceramics are not common inthe Headwaters area and usually appear farther west. Additional work at this site could behelpful in understanding more about the chronology and cultural relationships of theBlackduck and Sandy Lake cultures. Planned improvements to a boat access prompted evaluation of a site in A total of20 square meters were excavated in five blocks.

The earliest occupation of the site appeared to date to about BC to 1 AD. There wasan artifact concentration found in a portion of the site, in association with a 40 to 60centimeter diameter circular pit with dark fill. Evidence of the Sandy Lake culture was found at the deepest excavation, characterizedby large quantities of freshwater mussel shell, large mammal bone, ceramics, and almostthe complete absence of stone fragments. This suggests some type of specializedprocurement or processing activities occurred here. A single Sandy Lake vessel wasrecovered, well made with a fine fabric-impressed surface and a well compacted, fine gritpaste.

This vessel is unlike most Sandy Lake ceramics in the Headwaters area which haveless compacted paste, less rim flare, and are more coarsely made.

Dating in Sandy Lake

This item probably datesto pre AD. Sites were evaluated in in preparation for campground modifications. The firstsite was utilized from the Woodland period through Postcontact Ojibwe habitation. Ceramicsof several cultures were found; predominantly Sandy Lake, with smaller amounts ofBrainerd, Blackduck, Bird Lake, and Oneota-related pottery. Hearth and pit features wereidentifiable. Bone fragments found included moose, deer, beaver, and muskrat. Fish were alsorelatively abundant, but water resources do not seem to have been the primary provider offoods since evidence of some wildlife, such as waterfowl, are missing here.

The Postcontact period was represented by be, a kaolin pipe, a "hawkbell", iron needle, brass bracelet, ring, cut kettle brass, musket ball, gunflints,fabric and ceramics. According to historical s, Yellow Head, who guided explorerHenry Schoolcraft to the source of the Mississippi River, lived in a village here. The second site, on a high ridge well removed from the current shoreline, represents arelic shoreline from a period of very high, probably postglacial, water levels in CassLake.

The base of an Agate Basin projectile point was recovered in This places thesite within the Paleoindian period, and suggests on-site tool manufacture fromheat-treated materials. The site may represent a short-term campsite of a smallPaleoindian group. This site is one of the most ificant and potentially informativeregarding the earliest and least-known period of human habitation in the Headwaters area. Two sites were excavated in and prompted by campground rehabilitation andshoreline stabilization.

Williams Narrows was used during the Paleoindian through Late Woodland periods. Aresort was later built at the location and Paleo indian projectile points, copper, and other artifacts havebeen found for many years. The campground is probably a Late Paleoindian and Archaicperiod campsite.

A side-notched point base suggests the Archaic period. A large anvil andhammerstones appear to have been used in processing vegetal matter, or possibly bonemarrow extraction. Like other Headwaters sites of great age, this site is now on a highridge well removed from the current shoreline. Located on a major portage route connecting Leech Lake and Cass Lake, South Pike Bayhas been recognized as an important human habitation area for many years. The firstwritten of pre-european settlement here was by Jacob Brower in TheUniversity of Minnesota conducted the first controlled test excavation inrecoveringceramics of the Laurel and Brainerd cultures, and noting burials.

Archeological investigation was conducted in in preparationfor campground modifications. Ninety seven test areas and 5. The lower terrace could be characterized as a series of discontinuousarcheological deposits representing several smaller campsites. Artifacts recovered included ceramics of several cultures; Brainerd, Laurel,Blackduck, and Sandy Lake. An almost complete reconstructable Brainerd culture vessel was also found. The most prevalent types ofceramics appeared to date within the last years, but the range of types indicate thedeepest excavation area was occupied intermittently over the past years.

Forest Service Passport in Time Program volunteers excavated 40square meters on the upper terrace. An abundance of tools, other artifacts,faunal remains, and features were found. Radiocardon dates indicate thisarea was occupied between years ago. At least ten activity areas were evident. The primaryanimals identified from the faunal assemblage are deer, bear, and turtle, withsmall mammals, fish, birds, and mollusks present in trace amounts. Aificant concentration fo bone in units 11 and 12 may represent a food wastedisposal area.

Calcined bear paw fragments suggest cultural practicesbeyond subsistence.

Dating in Sandy Lake

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