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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center


Catlinite Tablet

March 7, 2019

Some stones in our region have designs engraved by precontact Native American peoples. Some of the designs are abstract, and others appear to represent thunderbirds, humans, deer, bison, or other figures. Beyond being “portable art,” these carved stones no doubt…

Yellowware Rockingham Baker

February 21, 2019

A distinctive type of decoration called Rockingham was produced by adding manganese brown glaze to the basic yellowware, resulting in a tortoiseshell effect. This glaze was dipped or spattered onto a revolving piece of yellowware, which caused it to streak and…

Throwback Thursday – MVAC 2010 T-Shirt – Dahl Pipe

February 7, 2019

Throwback Thursday – MVAC t-shirt from 2010 featuring a drawing (by UWL Archaeology major Becky Sprengelmeyer) of the Dahl pipe. The pipe is made of pipestone with very detailed etchings.  Link to read more about the pipe in the MVAC…

Clay Pipe – Woodland – Sand Lake Archaeological District

January 24, 2019

These fragments of at least one grit-tempered clay pipe were recovered from several locations during 2008 excavations in the Sand Lake Archaeological District north of La Crosse, Wisconsin. They include the base of the stem, mid-stem fragments, and a bowl fragment…

Woven Bag

January 17, 2019

This woven bag was recovered from an area rockshelter. Pottery associated with the bag and the natural fibers (nettle) used to make the bag suggest an association with late precontact Oneota tradition. Perishable items such as this are rarely preserved…

Sleigh Bell

January 10, 2019

This brass sleigh bell, or rumbler bell as they are sometimes called, was excavated in 2006 from an early 1830s to 1840s privy in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The bell is missing a portion of one side as well as…

Catfish Cleithrums

January 3, 2019

The largest species of catfish in the Upper Mississippi River is commonly called the mudcat or flathead catfish (scientific name, Pylodictis olivaris), which can weigh more than 100 pounds. Bones from large mudcats have been found in excavations at many…