In 1979 UW-La Crosse archaeologists conducted a survey to locate sites in the vicinity of La Crosse. The area was a major center for prehistoric cultural activity, especially in late precontact times. There was a sense of urgency because La Crosse and Onalaska were experiencing extensive urban sprawl.
One of the locations identified was the Sand Lake site north of La Crosse. This bone pendant was recovered from a hearth exposed by plowing at the site. Bone pendants have been found at a number of late precontact Oneota sites in the La Crosse area.