Northern Headwaters Region on Minnesota Map
Institute for Minnesota Archaeology logo From Site to Story logo

Northern Headwaters Region
 


Contents

Stories

Sources

Search

Credits

Links

Home

The Knutson Dam Site          
Site Number(s):   21BL4  
County:   Beltrami, MN  
City Township:   Brook Lake Twp.  
Image Archive:    (big thumbnails)     (medium)     (small)       


The continuity of human occupation common to many sites in the Northern Headwaters area can also be found at the Knutson Dam Campground Site, where a precontact Late Woodland community was succeeded by early 19th-century Ojibwe presence. The site is particularly significant for the evidence it contains of the Late Woodland people sometimes known as the Psinomani culture.

 
 



Sandy Lake ceramics
Representative Sandy Lake ceramics from the Knutson Dam Campground Site.



Located at the outlet where the Mississippi River flows from Cass Lake, the site was noticed by explorer Zebulon Pike in 1805, who reported a trading station on the north side of the outlet. Nearly a century later Jacob Brower documented the presence of mounds. Artifacts collected at the site in the 1950s were classified as Blackduck with a small Sandy Lake component.

 
 





Volunteers with the U.S. Forest Service, assisted by personnel from the Leech Lake Heritage Sites Program, excavated the site in the summers of 1987 and 1988. In 1989, students from a University of Iowa archaeological field school continued the work in cooperation with the Forest Service.

In 1987 these volunteers at the Knutson Dam site participated in the
In 1987 these volunteers at the Knutson Dam site participated in the "Spirit of the Headwaters" program.

 
 



Leech Lake Excavation Crew, 1988.
Leech Lake Excavation Crew, 1988. Note light colored fill overlying darker cultural layers in wall profile.



Archaeologists uncovered thousands of lithics and ceramic potsherds characteristic of the people who made Sandy Lake ceramics (sometimes known as the Psinomani culture).

 
 



Projectile Points from the Knutson Dam Site
Projectile Points from the Knutson Dam Site. Ten of the thirteen total projectile points recovered from the site are small unnotched triangular points characteristic of the Psinomani cultural component.


Catlinite and ceramic pipes from Knutson Dam.
Catlinite and ceramic pipes from Knutson Dam.
 
 


Artifacts associated with a documented 19th-century Ojibwe presence were also found, but the duration of the Ojibwe occupation was not determined.

 
 



Euro-American ceramics excavated from the Knutson Dam site.
Euro-American ceramics excavated from the Knutson Dam site.


Historic metal artifacts
Historic metal artifacts: (a) fragment of a brass "hawk bell" (b) iron needle (c) brass bracelet (d) band from a brass trade ring (e) piece of cut kettle brass cut from a kettle (f) a lead musket ball.


 
 



 
 
 


 

Sources Stories Credits Search Contents Links
Northern Headwaters Twin Cities Metro Area Red Wing Locality

From Site to Story web address
© 1999 The Institute for Minnesota Archaeology
Email us: feedback@fromsitetostory.org
Updated 30 Jun 1999