Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies
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A Garden Discovery

by Jerry Bishop

Central States Archaeological Societies 2008 July Journal

Pell Lake,Wisconsin

In May 2006 I decided to finally move the garden. For as long as I can remember, the garden had been in the same spot and it was time to make a change. I’m sure glad I did, for underneath the soil of the garden was a big surprise. As soon as I started moving dirt I noticed some interesting rocks. Up to that point,
I had never ever even given the previous inhabitants of my land a thought.

All that changed as I removed rock after rock from the garden. Not knowing much about my finds, I attended an artifact show, my first ever. Although I thought I had found something, I still wasn’t sure. Imagine my
surprise when those I showed my finds to immediately identified them. Next I visited the University of Wisconsin and shared my story.

In September 2006 they sent a full team led by Paula Porubcan, a senior archaeologist for Midwest Archaeological Research Services. They uncovered more artifacts and dug up a lot of ground in a systematic way.

Much to my dismay, they concluded in their report that the artifacts were brought to my property in the 1840’s from farms in the area and included in a decorative rock border for the garden. Through the years they had become buried under 10 inches of soil and it was I who uncovered them 150 years later.
They said what I had were pestles, adzes, celts and hammerstones, mostly from the Archaic Period. There were also some crude discoidals. I’ve since loaned 36 pieces to the Geneva Lake Museum, where they are on display.

I’m not fully in agreement with the archaeologists’ report. I think there may be more on my property to find, and I’m just starting to look. Finding things from that long ago has amazed me, and I hope to find much more in the years to come.


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