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The Williams Narrows Site          
Site Number(s):   21IC46  
County:   Itasca, MN  
City Township:   Unorganized Territory  
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The Williams Narrows site is a multicomponent site located on the Lake Winnibigoshish reservoir on Cut Foot Sioux Lake. It is one of the few sites in north-central Minnesota with well documented Paleo-Indian presence. Projectile points of both the fluted and lanceolate types can be found in surface collections from the site. Investigators have also recovered numerous copper artifacts and a range of Archaic projectile points.

 
 



Copper artifacts
This rolled copper point and several other pieces of worked and unworked copper from Williams Narrows suggest an Archaic component at the site.


shouldered drill bit
This shouldered drill bit from the Williams Narrows site is tentatively attributed to the late Paleo-Indian component.

 
 



Projectile points
Projectile Points from the Williams Narrows Sites.


Drill Bits, scraper-graver, and punch/perforator from the Williams Narrows Sites
Drill Bits, scraper-graver, and punch/perforator from the Williams Narrows Sites.

 
 



The Williams Narrows site was identified during a University of Minnesota survey in the 1970s. Erosion was affecting the site and University archaeologists urged intensive testing and stabilization of the area before it was severely damaged. The landowner attempted to protect the shore by placing fill and material such as concrete along the shoreline, but erosion continued. In 1989, the U.S. Forest Service initiated a major shoreline stabilization plan for the lake. That summer archaeological fieldwork on the Williams Narrows site was carried out by personnel from the Leech Lake Heritage Sites Program.

 
 


1997 Excavation Units at the Williams Narrows Campground Site
1997 Excavation Units at the Williams Narrows Campground Site.


1997 Excavation blocks
1997 Excavation Block at the Williams Narrows Campground Site

 
 



First, the team used soil cores and shovel tests to determine the extent of fill that had been used in efforts to slow erosion. Formal excavation units were placed in areas that had not been disturbed.

 
 




Excavation revealed lithic artifacts, ceramics, faunal remains, and copper objects. Numerous Woodland period artifacts were recovered from the site, but the extraordinary presence of Paleo and Archaic artifacts is significant for the history of the Northern Headwaters area.


Representative Woodland ceramics from Williams Narrows: (a) a rim sherd of Laurel or Malmo ware and (b) a vessel rim of Sandy Lake ware.
Representative Woodland ceramics from Williams Narrows: (a) a rim sherd of Laurel or Malmo ware and (b) a vessel rim of Sandy Lake ware.

 
 


 

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Updated 30 Jun 1999