reports on work conducted by the National Park Service (NPS) and
the Institute for Minnesota Archaeology (IMA) in 2001-2002 to extend knowledge
fur trade resources and activities within the area of Voyageurs National
Park (VOYA). The project involved terrestrial and underwater archaeological
investigations, archival research, artifact analysis, and informant
interviews. Douglas Birk, Senior Archaeologist/Historian of the IMA in
Minnesota, and Jeffrey J. Richner, NPS Archeologist with the Midwest
in Lincoln Nebraska, served as principal investigators.
part of a broader study. An earlier phase of the study, a literature
review completed in 2000, documented the park’s environmental history and assembled
some historical information relevant to fur trade experiences in the VOYA
between 1730 and 1870 (Catton and Montgomery 2000:4).
VOYA is a NPS unit
located in the Rainy Lake-area of northern Minnesota. The park
incorporates over 217,000 acres and a part of the “Voyageur’s Highway,” an
old mainline fur-trade canoe route extending between Lake Superior
and the northwest interior of Canada. Much of the park area is comprised
water, now regulated by reservoir dams. While the surface water has
influenced local settlement, land use, and transportation since ancient
times, it is
the historic era of the fur trades that gives VOYA its historical
identity and name. The NPS is currently sponsoring programs to locate,
and protect fur trade resources in the park, and the IMA, through
a cooperative agreement with the NPS, is assisting these efforts.