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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Ridged Fields

March 7, 2016

Ridged FieldsCoGardenrn, beans and squash, grown in ridged fields, can be recovered from light fraction flotation samples.  Besides harvesting wild plants and animals, people were farming using ridged field agricultural systems in the La Crosse region.  Here is a view of one of the ridged fields being excavated at the Sand lake site (Oneota, La Crosse county), along with our modern experimental garden. People were planting the “three sisters” corn, beans, and squash. The corn was planted in hills (3 or 4 kernels per hill) along the top of the ridges. The beans grew on the sides of the hills, and spiraled up around the corn plants for their support. Squash was grown between the rows, where the large leaves helped to hold in moisture in the soil and keep down weed growth.  You can read more about MVAC’s experimental garden at: http://mvac.uwlax.edu/past-cultures/native-knowledge/garden/three-sisters/.