Thursday, March 15, 2018

David Mather on "Zooarchaeology of Historic Fort Snelling and the Native Ecology of Bdote"

Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 6pm in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, Macalester College 
(an interactive map is here, and the Campus Center is #29 on this map)

This event is free and open to the public; co-sponsored by the Anthropology Department and the Archaeological Institute of America,

Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) Skulls from the Fort Snelling Officers' Latrine, 1841-1846

David Mather
National Register Archaeologist
Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office

Animal remains from Fort Snelling provide detailed information about the native ecology of the Twin Cities metropolitan area before it was irrevocably changed by urbanization. This is a case study of the Officers’ Latrine feature, with dated deposits ranging from 1824 to 1865. The assemblage is incredibly well preserved, and includes a significant variety of wild bird remains. These and other animal species reveal aspects of the original upland prairie, floodplain forest and aquatic habitats at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, an area known as Bdote to the eastern Dakota. Zooarchaeological data are presented in the contexts of historical records, current ecological conditions, and the vast, largely unanalyzed faunal assemblages from significant sites in the vicinity of the confluence. The Officers’ Latrine represents a small subset of the total faunal assemblage from Fort Snelling, and the first to be studied in detail.

David Mather has been active in Minnesota archaeology for thirty years. He has been the National Register Archaeologist for Minnesota's State Historic Preservation Office since 2006, and before that served as the consulting archaeologist for the Mille Lacs Tribal Historic Preservation Office. He has a M.S. in Environmental Archaeology from the University of Sheffield in England, and is finishing his PhD on the archaeobiology of bear ceremonialism at the University of Minnesota. David is currently directing a multi-year project to update the National Register of Historic Places documentation for the Fort Snelling Historic District.

AIA members may join the speaker for a no-host meal following the talk.

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