Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [ancient_waterways_society] Hixton and Trade Routes

Expand Messages
  • Chris Patenaude
    Silicified Sandstone! THAT s what I ve got in my samples... only this one is an olive green and comes from Lake Erie region, last I could track down. I call it
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 29, 2013
      Silicified Sandstone! THAT's what I've got in my samples... only this one is an olive green and comes from Lake Erie region, last I could track down.
      I call it my "greasy-green" because of the odd texture it gives between the fingers... textured, but smooth. Under a microscope, the sand-grains break THRU the crystals, showing some metamorphic heat was endured(?)  Do you have a name for it on the books? Also, under magnification, the sandgrains are multi-hued and originally from an assorted-mineral resource when first eroded and deposited who knows when. But to the naked eye, the colors are collapsed like printing pixels and we perceive it as a muddy green... but it glows around the edges just like the Hixon SS does in pictures.

      From: Ryan Howell <ryan.jayhowell@...>
      To: "ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com" <ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013 10:49 AM
      Subject: Re: [ancient_waterways_society] Hixton and Trade Routes


      Yeah, Hixton SS is one of those lithic materials that certainly travels. The current "record" for that material going the distance that I know of is a few that have been found in central Kentucky, nearly 650 miles as the crow flies! In the Driftless Area we have obsidian from Yellowstone and Knife River as you mention, but also the Hopewell-related mounds in western Wisconsin (the area I am most familiar with) have large bifaces from the Spanish Diggings orthoquartzite from near Hartville (east central Wyoming) and what look like agate and porcellanite from the Bighorn Mountains far to the north of that area.

      One of the most interesting sites I came across while working in Wyoming was the Hagen site on the Missouri River near the eastern Montana border with ND. The site was excavated early in the 1940-1950's by Bill Mulloy from Laramie and is not well known nowadays. It had burial mounds or what looked like mounds, highly unusual on the Plains, and in the mounds were dozens of obsidian blanks/bifaces cached up and ready to go. In my mind it is the best candidate for a "trading station" along what one would assume would be the main obsidian trade-route of the Missouri River. That may be an example of direct-trade, where large quantities of ready-made obsidian was being collected to ship down river or at least to the next middle-man. I think the last estimate that I heard for obsidian use by the Hopewell was 10-15 tons of material.


      From: Ted Sojka <tedsojka@...>
      To: ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:21 PM
      Subject: [ancient_waterways_society] Re: ryan


      Hello Ryan,

      Great thoughts to share.  

      I have been to Silver Mound near Hixton, and not only is a source of lithic stone for tools, it has petroglyphs and pictographs of early people who came there to collect stone and leave a sign or offering for what they removed.  I have seen Hixton calcified sandstone points in collections a hundred or more miles away from that site.  They are identifiable.  

      Here along the Driftless area of the Mississippi we have found Knife River Flint, and obsidian point and flakes at excavated sites over the last 100 years.  We were on one of many trade routes called the Road of the Voyageurs on some of the early maps.  It went west and northward from here to Pipestone in Minnesota.  There are finds of copper from Superior, shells from the Gulf and Yucatan, in this area.  

      Trade routes were something people built over generations, marrying along the way and establishing family relationships with people. 1500 miles, I was told was a common length of one of these trade routes.

      Thanks also for your thoughts on identification and location of finds, without the context it just another piece of rock.  

      On Jul 24, 2013, at 9:58 PM, Ryan Howell wrote:



      I don't know how any archaeological materials "have no intrinsic value". Each artifact and site is a piece of the puzzle, and future generations will thank you for documenting them. I just finished working in the Erskine, Mn area in Glacial Lake Agassiz recently myself and I was struck by the lithic materials as well. I was finding alot of vein quartz and basalt flakes (things I would expect to find primarily in the Lake Superior basin in NE Minnesota). I talked to a geologist friend of mine and he said the Erskine Glacier pulled alot of material from the Superior basin and deposited in the moraines along the Red River of the North/ Glacial Lake Agassi. I was also struck by the dominance of Knife River Flint (KRF) we saw in almost every major formal tool; points, drills, etc. I was not expecting that much of a KRF signature that far east, but as you say the area is pretty "lithic-poor". We also saw alot of natural-death Bison bones in the plowzone, showing the major reason to come to the wet-prairie area prehistorically and historically.

      Certainly, the Red River/Coteau/Minnesota River waterway is an ancient trade route and would have been a major travel-route between groups on the Northern Plains and the Mississippi River to the east. We find "tribute" bundles of arrows at Cahokia from places as far west as the Republican River in Nebraska and as far north as Silver Mound (Black River Valley) near Hixton, WI. So Cahokia-based trade from the Red River is certain possible, if not probable. Unfortunately, perishables like pemmican or buffalo hides just don't preserve well in the archaeological record so finding their traces would be difficult.

      Happy Hunting,



      From: Chris Patenaude <yacrispyubetcha@...>
      To: "ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com" <ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 5:51 PM
      Subject: Re: [ancient_waterways_society] Re: Private collections... Reply #2

      Thank you, Ryan, for the attachments and guidelines to establishing a new archy-site for protection.

      My own aforementioned farm-fields that have resulted in bits of history into my own keeping are already designated MN sites with legit, recorded numbers with the  UofMN branches here in the region. I am not a freelancer artifact hunter. And only surface finds are rescued from the plowzone. I'm sparingly collecting with the knowledge and oversight of a local Archaeology prof. He's seen what I've gathered and says the sites have no intrinsic value, and is not worried about the broken shards of pottery and stone fragments. He has tons of the "same stuff", he says, in his records already. When I finish getting the assortment cataloged, it is promised to our County historical society's museum for public display and education.

      What I find fascinating about the items, beat up by the farm equipment as they are, is the correlation to the glacial-till deposits 15 miles east, and the bulk of the makers' "utensil" tool-kits. This was a nomadic meat-camp region... too cold to put in crops...a huge bulk of the artifacts are shaped and re-tooled hide scrapers. Busted hammerstones come in a close second. I'm flabbergasted to see what kinds of crap-rock they would stoop to shape into working tools, here in the Valley. In our floodlands, there are no stone materials to find... its the bottom of an archaic glacial-lake (Agassiz)... anything mineral spotted by eye in the dirt is 80% sure to be artifact. Intentionally brought in for some kind of use with the meat-packing industry they conducted for trade-goods farther south.

      My adrenalin-stirring thought is... exactly who were they making tons upon tons of Pemmican and jerky for... possibly trade to Cahokia via water routes from here. I'm convinced that Old World contact was being brought up the Mississippi at least to Cahokia, if not further. How did Ogham get onto that Catlinite disc, I keep pondering...
      -Chris P ... "Crispy"

      From: Ryan Howell <ryan.jayhowell@...>
      To: "ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com" <ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 7:45 AM
      Subject: [ancient_waterways_society] Re: Private collections and Arch Site Recording [2 Attachments]

      [Attachment(s) from Ryan Howell included below]


      I know what you are saying about owners being fearful of showing their collections. I have been told by land owners everything from fears that collecting on their own property is illegal (it is not, all artifacts excepting human burials fall legally under the same laws as mineral rights in US law), to fears that the state or Native American tribes can buy/take their land if they find artifacts (they can't). There is a lot of misunderstanding out there in this area.

      Your also right that most of these collections are disappearing rapidly, most were collected back in the days of animal-pulled plows when the farmer would notice what he/she was hitting or kicking up with the plow (one of the reason's I am working with the Menonite-Amish group is that they are still doing it this way). Nowadays with two-story sized tractors nobody would notice what they hit with the farm machinery unless it was huge, so modern artifacts are ignored or worse ground to dust under the machinery. Also as some of the original discoverer's die the information about where and when the collection was found die with them. Most of their kids either never get the story, or lack interest in it until it is too late. I can't count the number of times I have found great collections in local libraries or high-schools that were donated by unknown parties and say something like "Johnson Farm" on them. 

      Prior to the 1960's almost all archaeology that was known in my area (Minnesota/Wisconsin) was generated by local landowners, amateur historians and artifact collectors and the state historical societies simply recorded information that was sent to them. This work, performed almost exclusively by local interested citizens, formed the baseline that modern archaeology and historical site research works from nowadays in the area and we still go back to the old letters, artifact tracing and hand-drawn maps to learn about these sites.

      There are great artifact collecting societies in most states, along with state archaeological societies (for instance the Minnesota Archaeological Society http://mnarchsociety.org/ , or the Wisconsin Archaeological Society http://wiarcheologicalsociety.org/ -plus facebook pages). However, one doesn't need to belong to any group to record collections and sites, any citizen can record archaeological or historical sites. Simply photographing the artifacts found and recording as much information (location, date of collection, who collected, etc.) is great information and data for future local historians and archaeologists to use. Going one step further and sending these records to the State Archaeologist office in a state site form (every state has one, see attached Mn forms), will guarantee that the records are permanently archived and that the site/collection area is taken into consideration before most future construction or development projects that fall under the National Historic Preservation Act. You even get to name the site and be listed as the discover for all time... I find that pretty neat.

      The problem right now is organization, in tough economic times the state historical societies and state archaeologist offices have had to scale back on their public education and public relations budgets. To my knowledge, in the Midwest, only Iowa has maintained a full-time staff member to focus exclusively on the general public and organize local archaeological projects and training for interested citizen-scientists and site recorders (http://www.uiowa.edu/~osa/edu/edu.htm). So right now it's down to individual initiative, I guess.

      Good hunting,


      From: C TRAYLOR <trayloroo@...>
      To: ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, July 1, 2013 11:44 PM
      Subject: Re: [ancient_waterways_society] Welcome newcomers; AAPS Conferemce update


       Very interesting ... especially the ending and rowing in the same direction. There are many private collections. The owners are afraid to show them for fear of litigation.  What ever is out there may be lost, sent with a trash truck. Probably each of us know of such collections. 
      There needs to be a society or group of retirees that can.do this, the personnel need to have training in recording methods, and interviewing the owner about the location and context of each piece.      
      Any hope of this? 
      Cal  Traylor    
      This message is in English, thank our veterans
      for keeping the front lines .... over there.

      Attachment(s) from Ryan Howell
      2 of 2 File(s)

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.