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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

2018 MVAC Volunteer Field Survey

May 8, 2018

The 2018 Public Field Survey on May 5 found 17 volunteers finally getting to survey some fields in excellent condition. We were there before the farmer had plowed, so the fields had sat through the winter and a very wet spring, with pools of water still in some areas. But, this meant the fields were very well-washed, and the artifacts were waiting for us.  We looked at six fields around Coon Valley, with some artifacts in all of them. But the first field was amazing. We had found one Raddatz point last year, but the field was being disked as we surveyed, so visibility was poor. This year, under greatly improved conditions, we found a series of points: another Middle Archaic Raddatz, a Late Archaic Kramer, a Late Woodland triangular point. We also recovered a scraper/point/knife object that had been heavily worked and reworked. We even found some sherds of Late Woodland pottery with cord impressions on them. The abundant flakes were made of a range of raw materials, including mostly the local Prairie du Chien chert, but also Grand Meadow from southeastern Minnesota, Burlington from Central Illinois, and Hixton Silicified Sandstone from Jackson County.  Clearly, Coon Creek has been a communication and travel route for a long period of time.  The other fields we surveyed produced lower densities of material, but they were also further from the Creek, suggesting less intensive occupations there. We also observed that the lower areas were much less likely to produce artifacts than the higher knolls.

The day also featured flintknapping by Jack Larson and his friends who had a flintknapping event at the Norskedalen Heritage Farm. MVAC’s volunteers got to work with some of the regions’ best knappers, see how the artifacts are made, and try it themselves. It was excellent to find some flakes, and then make some just like it. So, with beautiful weather, a great group of people, and lots of artifacts, we had a very successful day, and thanks to all the participants.

Link to more pictures.