Friday, October 2, 2015

Indian Village researchers find pot completely intact

A successful season at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village reached a new high over the weekend.

For the first time since 1928—when regular research started at the Mitchell site—archeology experts have found a ceramic vessel, or a small pot, that remains intact. Previously, every other piece of pottery found at the site has been crushed or broken at the time of discovery. The discovery was made Saturday at the Thomsen Archeodome during the village's annual Archeology Awareness Days held at the site along Lake Mitchell.

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village Executive Director Cindy Gregg said the findings created a clear sense of excitement.

"This is a really big finding," she said. "Especially when we consider that everything else has been broken." The pot is tiny, measuring only a few inches wide and it will require further testing. The village will send it to Bristol, England, for residue testing, which might give a clue as to what the pot was used for. That process could take several months. She said the small size of the item could have been one of the reasons it has stayed as one piece after an estimated 1,000 years.

"It was less than a meter below the surface of the ground but it still had weight on it," Gregg said. "We're fortunate."

Gregg said she thinks it could have been a children's toy or could have been used as a painting pot. The pot is the second big finding of the season at the dig site, which is being worked this summer by students from Augustana College and from the University of Exeter, England. A total of 18 students are working at the site through Thursday.

Last month, researchers for the first time found 1,000-year-old charred corn and sunflower seeds at the site, and also found small corn cobs that affirmed that the people living along Firesteel Creek had a diverse diet and were seasoned farmers. After the seeds were found, it was already considered to be the most successful season digging in the last 12 years since students began digging there each summer.

Gregg said they've always known the site was rich with archeological artifacts but considered it "luck of the dig" to find what they have this year.

"For those of us who are into this, this is pretty exciting," she said.

Traxler, Marcus. 2015. “Indian Village researchers find pot completely intact”. Mitchell Republic. Posted: July 13, 2015. Available online:

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