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13 July 2009
Pipeline work digs up artifacts in Nebraska

A pre-construction crew with the Keystone Pipeline project, which originates in Hardesty, Canada, and is currently digging the pipeline route in northeast Nebraska (USA), found evidence of prehistoric artifacts while completing the land survey of the pipeline route, said Jeff Rauh of Keystone. "We indeed did find artifacts southwest of Hartington," Rauh said. "The survey crew identified the site and tried several routes around the site but found, at each turn, another area with artifacts." He said the archeology company is currently preparing a report for the Nebraska Historical Society. Information about the site and its area are required to remain confidential and he could not divulge the exact location.          
     While excavating ground samples for the pipeline route with a backhoe, a grouping of old fire dugouts or pits was uncovered. A group of archeological experts was brought in to investigate the site. During a two-week period, they sifted the area with screens, finding small animal bones and other small items that may be arrowheads. The men excavated an area that they believe was a campground and dug 6-8 feet down from the surface.
     Alan Osborn, a research assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, believes it is a significant site containing historic Native American artifacts. "We call finds like these time capsules," Osborn said. "The dugouts are food pits which early natives stored food, and when its usefulness was finished, the pit was filled with trash." He added these finds are valuable as they tell the archeologists about the prehistoric diet the natives followed and their hunting practices. It can show how the prehistoric natives adapted their diet and what animal, fish and plant species they favored.
     The artifacts were carefully packed up and sent to a lab for further research. The archeology company will submit a report to the Nebraska State Historical Society. From a preliminary management report, archeologist Terry Steinacker of Nebraska's Fort Robinson State Park  said the site has been identified as a prehistoric site that dates back to the Woodland period, set from 1 CE to 900 CE.

Source: Press & Dakotan (6 July 2009)

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