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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Sand Lake Site – Carved Elk Astragalus

September 14, 2017

Elk AstragalusThe artifact shown here was recovered in an Oneota feature from the Sand Lake Archaeological District in La Crosse County, Wisconsin in the mid 1980s. It is a tarsal bone (astragalus) from the lower, rear leg of an elk. It has been modified with a series of deeply cut grooves on the anterior face of the bone. An apparent attempt to shape the bone on the posterior, face as well as the lateral and medial aspects is indicated by coarse grinding striations. If some imagination is applied, it is possible to perceive something of an anthropomorphic image on this specimen.

(Entry by Dr. James Theler)