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17 July 2004
Artifacts unearthed in Minnesota Lake

Pottery, arrowheads and other fragments of an ancient culture are being unearthed on the west shore of Mille Lacs Lake (Minnesota, USA), and they're painting a picture of what life was like for the Mdewakanton Indians 2,000 years ago. Archeologists, working in a space the size of a small garage, have already found more than 20,000 artifacts.
     The artifacts are being collected before a sewer line and lift station is installed on the sight near Highway 169. The archeologists are finding items from the Middle Woodland Era, which dates from 500 BCE to 500 CE. The items include small stone weights used to anchor fishing nets - evidence that Mille Lacs fish were a valuable source of food.
     "It was a time when a lot of religious and cultural change was taking place," said David Mather, lead archaeologist for the Mather Heritage Group of Minneapolis. Burial mounds were first being used in the area, he said. In addition, trade was going on with tribes in other parts of the country, some as far away as the Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico.
     Archaeologists working here nearly 100 years ago had written of an ancient village and mapped locations of burial mounds. So when work on the sewer line was scheduled to begin, the Corps of Engineers knew the site had artifacts and this was the last chance to recover them. Construction of the sewer line and lift station won't begin until the dig is completed in August. "We won't get everything," Mather said, "but we'll get a representative sample." The artifacts will be carbon dated and turned over to the Minnesota Historical Society.

Source: wcco.com (16 July 2004)

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