Steele County Historical Society Hosts the Gopher State Archaeological Society Artifact Show

March 2017—The Steele County Historical Society (SCHS) will host the Gopher State Archaeological Society Artifact Show on Saturday, March 25, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  This free event is open to the public and offers an opportunity to see many of the region’s largest and most complete private collections featuring artifacts personally found from Steele County and around the state.  The displays will cover all time periods and a wide range of items from arrowheads to Native American beadwork.

New this year, the Science Museum of Minnesota will be onsite promoting its archaeological survey of Dakota County. This effort seeks to summarize what is known about the early human occupation of the county and update the State Archaeologist’s site file with regard to the status of known archaeological sites. Part of this work involves connecting with collectors, landowners and others who have found artifacts or have knowledge to share. “It is always a great exchange when we can extend our knowledge of the area and at the same time share information with the finder or the landowner so they can connect what they have found with a better understanding of the region” says Ed Fleming, Curator of Archeology for the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Our local archeological record spans 11,000 thousand years and items from Steele County dating back to the Paleo time period will be on display. Collectors from around the region will feature items such as stone arrowheads and knives, stone axes, copper tools and bone tools. More recent historical items such as fur trade artifacts, beadwork, baskets and Native American art will also be on display.

“Minnesota has always been a crossroads of sorts with our lakes, rivers and resources drawing people to the region for over 10,000 years” says Tom Amble of the Gopher State Archeological Society. “We have sites where one day we might find a 5,000 year old stone point and the next day we might find a 200 year old trade bead.”

The objective of the show is to encourage communication and education among collectors, professional archeologists and the public. Tom Amble of the Gopher State Archeological Society said “Every collector dreams of finding a Clovis point. They are over 11,000 years old and a prize of any collection. Yet collectors may not realize is that no undisturbed Minnesota Clovis site has ever been effectively researched and documented by our state archeologists. We want to raise awareness of issues like this among collectors so they know how important it may be to report a find.” Amble explains that other topics such as responsible and legal collecting and identifying fakes are discussed at every show.

Stephanie Kibler, Manager of Meetings and Special Events of the Steele County History Center said “The Archaeology Show is a fun, well attended event that offers a rate opportunity to experience first-hand a bit of Steele County’s earliest history.”

Anyone interested in artifacts or local history will find the event to be a great way to spend an hour or the whole day. There will be items for sale or trade. If there are items you have found or that has been passed along in your family, bring them to the show. There will be a number of knowledgeable people on hand to give you some opinions as to what you have – is it 10,000 years old, 300 years old or possibly a modern replica?

The History Center, located at 1700 Austin Road, Owatonna, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am until 4 pm, Thursdays from 10 am until 8 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am until 3 pm. For more information, please call our office at 507-451-1420.


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