MSUM Students Dig Into the Red River Valley’s Past

They will be on an archaeological dig over the next five weeks

GLYNDON, Minn. — MSUM students are turning some of their anthropology studies into some hands–on experience right in the Red River Valley’s backyard.

KVRR’s Danielle Church has more on what they’re doing to discover some of the area’s little known history.

Below the grounds of MSUM’s Regional Science Center are stories.

Most of them waiting to be told.

“There’s a really deep history and a really interesting on,” said Rinita Dalan, MSUM anthropology and earth science professor.

MSUM students are now digging deep into the Red River Valley’s past.

Putting all the pieces together at five different sites.

“We hit artifacts all the time, some of them break, some of them don’t. You know what I mean,” said Carly DeSanto, an MSUM senior.

Students determine how good the site is through shovel tests. Right now, there’s more than 1,300 of them at MSUM’s Regional Science Center.

“We can’t see the ground surface very much. If it was a plowed field, we could see if there were artifacts there but we can’t with this thick vegetation,” Dalan said. “We do about a shovel’s width and maybe 30, 40 centimeters we go down and screen the dirt and see what kind of artifacts we’re finding.”

Despite having just started their archaeological journey in Glyndon, students say they aren’t coming up short.

“(We find) pottery, we found flakes, points, bone, fire cracked rock. That pretty much covers it all,” DeSanto said.

Which are finally answering the questions they’ve had about early settlers from the area.

“Were they specialized Bison hunters and another point, it’s the winter and they’re hunkering down in the low valley and protecting themselves. Are they hunting Bison here? Are they hunting Bison elsewhere and dragging the bones here,” Dalan said.

Even the soil they’re sifting through is speaking to them through the smallest discoveries.

“This middle stuff is about 3,000 B.C., so that’s 5,000 years ago. So the stuff we have on the top, we just tell by the kinds of points and artifacts we find,” said George Holley, MSUM anthropology and earth science professor.

In addition to all the tales these students find down under, some say it’s also important they realize the entire experience will help them write their own futures as anthropologists.

“I don’t know too many other professions that do that, that go out with students eight hours a day, five days a week for five, six weeks and just do what they would do professionally and really give them experience,” Dalan said.

MSUM students have also done archeological digs in Georgetown, Minnesota and the Twin Cities.

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