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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center


Mastodon Ulna

March 15, 2018

John (right) and Otto (left) Swennes, often called the “Swennes boys,” were bachelor Norwegian brothers who lived on a farm in Long Coulee in northern La Crosse County. They were wonderful, cheerful, and friendly folks and welcomed all with good…


March 8, 2018

The 1999 excavations at Second Fort Crawford (Prairie du Chien, WI) recovered 27 buckles. Thirteen of them are square or rectangular, with a hook-hinge bar in the middle. These buckles vary in size, but they all are made out of…


February 1, 2018

In 2001, Terry Liska of rural Ferryville, Crawford County, Wisconsin, was installing an underground cable and found two large ground stone tools made of basalt, plus portions of a chipped stone blade made of Hixton silicified sandstone. MVAC staff went…

Hat Pin

January 25, 2018

During the 1999 excavations at Second Fort Crawford (Prairie du Chien, WI) the end of a hat pin was recovered from the privy located near the southern Officers’ Quarters. This hat pin end is gilded and has various geometric designs…

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…