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K. Kris Hirst

Fieldwork in Focus: Trempealeau, Wisconsin

By March 17, 2010

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This week's fieldwork in focus comes from Robert "Ernie" Boszhardt, director of the University of Wisconsin at Baraboo's archaeology 2010 field school in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, to be held between June 2 and July 9.

The University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County invites applicants to register for a six week/six credit archaeological field school in scenic Trempealeau, Wisconsin. Accepted students will participate in a National Science Foundation sponsored research project to investigate interactions between local Effigy Mound people and Middle Mississippians who ventured hundreds of miles up the Mississippi River nearly 1,000 years ago.

1880 Map of Trempealeau Mounds
1880 Map of Trempealeau Mounds. Drawing by T.H. Lewis, Minnesota Historical Society files, courtesy the
Mississippian Initiative

Students will: (1) learn techniques of archaeological survey, excavation, mapping, documentation, and field laboratory methods, (2) work independently and in supervised teams, (3) be assigned pertinent readings, engage in group discussions, and will take occasional field trips to regional archaeological sites such as Effigy Mounds National Monument. The work is physically demanding with hiking, shoveling, screening, and record-keeping in outdoor conditions that range from hot and humid to cool and dry, exposure to summertime bugs and plants (e.g., mosquitoes and poison ivy), and lots of dirt.

Trempealeau is an historic town located in the dramatic Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. The town is situated along the Upper Mississippi River, 25 miles northwest of La Crosse. Prior archaeological research of the area has documented a rich archaeological record, including concentrated animal-shaped effigy mounds and a series of unique Middle Mississippian platform mounds. Local finds of red-painted pottery suggest a colony of Mississippian migrants into an Effigy Mound territory around A.D. 1050. Within a century of Mississippian contact, the Effigy Mound culture disappeared.

The UW-BSC field school will be taught by Robert "Ernie" Boszhardt. This field school is offered in conjunction with the Mississippian Initiative, a three-year National Science Foundation research project co-directed by Timothy Pauketat (University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign) and Danielle Benden (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and may include working alongside a University of Illinois archaeological field school.

Housing, Transportation, and Logistics

Trempealeau Wisconsin Field School, 2009
Trempealeau Wisconsin Field School, 2009. Photo by
Mississippian Initiative

Transportation to and from Trempealeau is the responsibility of the student. Car pooling is encouraged. Crew lodging at Trempealeau has been arranged with a local hotel within walking distance of the sites. A class fee of $200 is in addition to the course tuition, and will help cover costs associated with lodging and project supplies. Food costs and communal cooking/kitchen duties are the responsibility of the students. There is a nearby laundry mat and post office. Cell phone coverage in Trempealeau can be good, but you should check with your provider for coverage.

Accepted students should plan on bringing eating utensils, a cooking pot/skillet, and personal toiletries. A portable chair is also handy. For camping trips, you will need to bring a tent (or arrange to share one with a fellow student) and sleeping bag.

Costs: $1291.76 (6 credits) + $200 Special Course fee = $1491.76 (total) [plus food]

Registration for ANT 370 is through the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County Continuing Education Department. Prospective students should contact:

Cindy McVenes
Director of Continuing Education
UW-Baraboo/Sauk County
call her at 608-355-5234 or email cindy.mcvenes@uwc.edu

Applications should be submitted to Robert "Ernie" Boszhardt at rboszhardt@gmail.com before Friday April 2, 2010. Although this deadline may be extended, preference will be made to those who apply before April 2. Accepted students will be notified and provided additional instructions for registration and final details.

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