16. Archeological Investigations at Voyageurs National Park: 1979-1980.
Lynott, Mark J.
,Jeffrey J. Richner
, and Mona Thompson
During 1979 and 1980, approximately 16 weeks of survey and site testing
were conducted at Voyageurs National Park. The investigations were
designed to test an extant model of prehistoric site location, and to
evaluate the condition of archeological sites in the park. The project was
also designed to gather information about past patterns of human adaptation
in the park.
Survey activities included transect samples, intensive shoreline coverage
of segments of the park, and intensive examination of campgrounds and other
developments. A total of 89 known sites were revisited, and 49 previously
unknown sites were recorded. Survey data supported a model of prehistoric
sites being located adjacent to major lakes or rivers. Survey activities
in 1980 also included efforts to relocate Virginia &Rainy Lake Company lumber camps.
Site testing as a technique of site evaluation was empasized during both
seasons of field research. A total of 24 sites were tested, and a large
body of data relating to the Woodland and Historic periods was collected.
The majority of tested sites appear to be small, intermittantly occupied
camps, but larger seasonally occupied villages are also present. Laurel and
Blackduck sites are most common, but Selkirk and perhaps Sandy Lake sites
are also represented. Testing efforts were designed to minimize adverse
impacts to archeological resources during evaluative testing, so artifact
samples are often small. Ceramics and chipped stone tools and debris are
the most common artifact forms, but large and diverse samples of faunal
remains were collected at a few sites.
Survey and testing data document that raises in lake levels associated with
dam construction at Kettle Falls and International Falls have resulted in
severe erosion of all prehistoric sites within the park. Less than 25% of
the sites investigated during this project still contain primary context
archeological deposits. The data collected during 1979 and 1980 provide an
excellent basis for reconstructing human past lifeways in Voyageurs
National Park, and demonstrate that significant resources are present.
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