Out Behind the Barn with Dale and Betty
by Dale Roberts
|Central States Archaeological Societies 2013
Mount Sterling, Iowa
the first terrace overlooking the Fox River sits Mount Sterling, lowa. It
is probably as quiet and obscure as any place you can imagine. Our census
last year put our total population at 36 people.
Betty and I have a barn up on the hill with a view of Fox River. But we
are not the first people to appreciate the view. Indians at least as far
back as the Archaic period have made their home behind our barn.
The ditch at the foot of the hill has produced an array of artifacts and
very old materials. These include a couple of hematite celts plus an axe
made of metamorphic granite gneiss. This small crude axe was found behind
the barn on June 21st, 1990 and the material was identified by David A .Easterla
PhD. Gneiss is a metamorphic rock, and in this case, the harder part is hornblende
and the softer is feldspar. Dr. Easterla has one of the same material shown
on page 82 of the April 2010 issue of the Central States Archaelogical Journal.
Betty recently found a small granite celt which is grooved on one side,
and I picked up an eccentric point with multiple notches. In our 50 years
of hunting, these are the only ones we have ever found, and both came from
behind the barn. We have also found a ball and a hematite bola back there
In April of 2011, Betty picked up a piece of copper that is 5 inches long
and over 3 ¼ inches wide. It weighs a couple of pounds. I sure wish
they had made an artifact out of that!
Needless to say, we plan to spend some more time out behind the barn!