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Archaeology of Minnesota

The Prehistory of the Upper Mississippi River Region

2012
Author:

Guy Gibbon

Archaeology of Minnesota

A precontact history of Minnesota that reveals the relevance of archaeology to our understanding of the world today

From archaeological materials, Guy Gibbon reconstructs the social, economic, and political systems—the lifeways—of those who inhabited what we now call Minnesota for thousands of years before the first contact between native peoples and Europeans. Gibbon shows how the study of Minnesota archaeology is relevant to a broader understanding of long-term patterns of change in human development throughout the world.

Guy Gibbon constructs a multifaceted story of precontact Minnesota as evidenced from thousands of archaeological discoveries. Carefully interweaving crucial environmental variables with dynamic cultural processes, the character of indigenous lifeways found throughout the state over the past 13,000 years emerges. Archaeology of Minnesota offers both an admirable chronicle of the state’s deep history as well as a compelling case for why understanding the archaeological past matters.

Lynn M. Alex, University of Iowa, Office of the State Archaeologist

Histories of Minnesota typically begin with seventeenth-century French fur traders exploring the western shores of Lake Superior. Yet archaeology reveals that Native Americans lived in the region at least 13,000 years before such European incursions. Archaeology of Minnesota tells their story—or as much as the region’s wealth of artifacts, evidence of human activity, and animal and plant remains can convey.

From archaeological materials, Guy Gibbon reconstructs the social, economic, and political systems—the lifeways—of those who inhabited what we now call Minnesota for thousands of years before the first contact between native peoples and Europeans. From the boreal coniferous forests to the north, to the tall grass prairie to the west and southwest, to the deciduous forest to the east and southeast, the richly diverse land of the upper Mississippi River region, crossed and bordered by all manner of waterways, was a virtual melting pot of prehistoric cultures.

Demonstrating how native cultures adapted and evolved over time, Gibbon provides an explanation that is firmly rooted in the nature of local environments. He shows how the study of Minnesota archaeology is relevant to a broader understanding of long-term patterns of change in human development throughout the world.

Archaeology of Minnesota

Guy Gibbon is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Minnesota. He is the author or editor of several books, including The Sioux: The Dakota and Lakota Nations and Archaeology of Prehistoric Native America: An Encyclopedia.

Archaeology of Minnesota

Guy Gibbon constructs a multifaceted story of precontact Minnesota as evidenced from thousands of archaeological discoveries. Carefully interweaving crucial environmental variables with dynamic cultural processes, the character of indigenous lifeways found throughout the state over the past 13,000 years emerges. Archaeology of Minnesota offers both an admirable chronicle of the state’s deep history as well as a compelling case for why understanding the archaeological past matters.

Lynn M. Alex, University of Iowa, Office of the State Archaeologist

In Archaeology of Minnesota, Guy Gibbon chronicles the 13,000 year prehistoric record in the state. Much more than just dates, artifact lists, and site summaries, Gibbon presents Minnesota archaeology in a highly readable and informative matter that is both stimulating and challenging. This tour de force on Minnesota’s past was long awaited, and Gibbon, whose record of scholarship and familiarity with Minnesota archaeology is well-known, does not disappoint.

Joseph A. Tiffany, Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Archaeology of Minnesota

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Tools of the Trade

1. Environments of Minnesota

Paleoindian and Archaic Period, ca. 11,200 to 500 BC
2 First People: Paleoindian and Early Archaic Adaptations
3 Prairie Everywhere: Middle and Late Archaic Adaptations

Initial Woodland Period, ca. 1000–500 BC to AD 500–700
4 Southern Deer Hunters, Gardeners, and Bison Hunters: Initial Woodland Adaptations in Southern Minnesota
5 Northern Hunters, Fishers, and Wild Rice Harvesters: Initial Woodland Adaptations in Central and Northern Minnesota

Terminal Woodland and Mississippian Period, ca. AD 500–700 to 1650
6 Terminal Woodland Effigy Mound Builders and Bison Hunters: Terminal Woodland Adaptations in Southern Minnesota
7 First Tribes in Southern Minnesota: Mississippian and Plains Village Adaptation
8. First Tribes in Central and Northern Minnesota: Terminal Woodland Adaptations

Conclusion: Long-Term Pattern in the Past

Notes
Bibliography
Index