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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center


Woodland Pottery – Overhead

January 11, 2018

This late Middle Woodland vessel was excavated from a pit feature at the Overhead site in 1983. The feature was a shallow, basin-shaped pit about 60 cm (2 feet) in diameter, with an ashy lens at its base. The top…

MVAC 1980s T-Shirt

December 28, 2017

Early MVAC t-shirt from the 1980s.  Bison image is based on a pictograph of a probable bison presented in Rev. Edward Brown’s 1879 article The Pictured Cave of La Crosse Valley in Wisconsin Historical Collections 8:174-183.  Link to the article.…

Button – Ordnance Officer’s

December 21, 2017

This Ordnance Officer’s button (circa 1816-1821) was recovered in 1999 at Second Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.  It is gilded with a lined field in the background and a standing eagle facing right that is holding crossed cannons in…

Buttons – Military

December 14, 2017

MVAC found these military buttons at Second Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 1999. Left – Symmetrical Spread Eagle button – circa 1847-1872 or 1880. By 1854, this button became the standard issue for all enlisted men. Center –…

Buttons – Pearl

December 14, 2017

The pearl button industry began in the US in 1891, with a German immigrant and “button turner” named John Boepple began cutting buttons from freshwater mussels at the Mississippi river town of Muscatine Iowa. The freshwater shells of the Mississippi…

Elk Antler Hoe

December 14, 2017

Pictured is a hoe fashioned from a subtriangular section of elk antler. The thickness of this artifact was reduced to 4-7 mm during manufacture by scraping away much of the porous interior. The cutting edge of this tool was modified…

Wine Bottle Seal

November 23, 2017

During the 1999 excavations at Second Fort Crawford (Prairie du Chien, WI) one “Chateau Lafitte” wine bottle seal was found in the Enlisted Men’s Quarters.  Chateau Lafitte is a very expensive wine in today’s market, as it was in the…

Pipe – Historic Clay

November 9, 2017

Clay pipes, often called kaolin pipes, are common at historic sites. Some are plain, while others have decorations that help in determining age or possible manufacturer. Decorations or inscriptions can be on the bowls or stems. These examples are from…