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Northern Headwaters Region








The Nushka Lake Site         
Site Number(s):   21CA169  
County:   Cass, MN  
City Township:   Unorganized Territory  
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This site is on a small rise above Nushka Lake, which lies south of U.S. Highway 2 between Ball Club and Bena. As a prelude to pipeline construction in the area, the Institute for Minnesota Archaeology (IMA) excavated more than 100 test units at the site in 1991.

Nushka Lake Archaeology
Archaeologists excavate at the Nushka Lake site.

The 13,000 artifacts recovered represented two distinct cultural deposits. The deposit closest to the surface contained Brainerd and Sandy Lake ceramics, and the other more-deeply buried layer had only stone tool debris and fire-cracked rock.  

Three radiocarbon dates obtained from the lower levels place the initial occupation of the site at around 3,000 years ago, just prior to the suspected appearance of ceramics in the region.

Nushka Lake
A waterscreen was setup at the site to aide in the recovery of artifacts. Water pressure can wash clay soil off artifacts, so cultural material can be recovered more quickly than using a dry screen.


Nushka Lake Archaeology
Excavations at the Nushka Lake site.

The Nushka Lake Site was occupied at a time when the local environment and resident cultural groups were undergoing important changes. The field investigations included a study of the site setting including areal sand dune formations and both climatic shifts and water level fluctuations over time. The relation of the site deposits to water levels makes it possible to estimate when some of the fluctuations in water levels occurred.



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Updated 27 Jun 1999