U of M anthropology students learning field archaeology near Hastings, Minn.
What: Archaeological field school and dig
Where: Near Spring Lake, outside Hastings, Minn.
When: July 11 – Aug. 5
Who: Students from the University of Minnesota, directed by professor Gilliane Monnier and Science Museum of Minnesota archaeology curator Ed Fleming
Anthropology students at the University of Minnesota are taking their classroom to the field this summer. Professor Gilliane Monnier’s advanced archaeology students are spending four weeks in July and August conducting field studies at the Bremer Village site near Spring Lake, outside Hastings, Minn.
The 12 students are learning hands-on archaeology basics, such as digging test pits, identifying artifacts and mapping an archaeological site, while contributing to existing research on Native Americans who lived at the site on and off between 200 and 1200 C.E.
This field school will help the U of M undergrads acquire all of the necessary field techniques and skills that they need in order to do North American archaeology; it is essentially on-the-job training for anyone who wishes to work in archaeology someday or to attend graduate school in archaeology.
Bremer Village is part of a complex of sites on Spring Lake that was excavated by the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) in the 1950s. SMM archaeology curator Ed Fleming is co-teaching the class with Monnier. He excavated a nearby site last year, and said that the students can expect to find stone tools, pottery shards, post holes and other evidence of people living there.
The goal this summer, he said, is to excavate a new part of the site to get a better handle on the area as a village. “If we can obtain more information from the various components at the site, we can learn more about the people who lived there, how long they were there and how their culture changed over time,” said Fleming. Fleming suspects that, due to the many springs in the area, Bremer Village might have been a winter camp. If they can find evidence of what people were eating at the site—animal bones or burned plant remains in remnants of storage or fire pits—it will tell them more about when and how people lived at the site.
Seven high school students from the SMM’s Kitty Anderson Youth Science Center will work side by side with the college anthropology students during weeks three and four.
Visitors to the Bremer Village site must cross private property to get there, so reporter/photographer visits must be coordinated with co-directors Fleming and Monnier. Please call Jeff Falk or Kelly O’Brien to arrange a visit to the site. The best photo opportunities are likely during weeks three and four.