Fresh from the Field: Updates on Nebraska

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A team of graduate students and faculty from the University of Oklahoma and University of Iowa recently investigated the White Cat Village site in Nebraska.

This site rests right along the edge of a terrace overlooking Harlan County Reservoir and erosion has led to the destruction of much of the site. In 2015, our team conducted a bank survey (in challenging conditions) to see if any artifacts were eroding out of the cut bank. We found several artifacts and three burned features.

Bank Survey
Bank Survey

Our goals of the 2016 work was to excavate these features and to see if any additional artifacts could be found along the bank. The great news is that this year we found over 100 artifacts, indicating that a portion of the site remains.

Through our excavations, we also discovered that modern campers had used this area of the lake for camping and we found plastic spoons and beer cans right alongside projectile points and pottery.

We also found that the burned features identified in 2015 were all likely recent fire pits, although analysis is ongoing.

Modern fire pit
Modern fire pit

Despite this recent disturbance, we found evidence that some Dismal River deposits are still intact as we discovered two small features filled with fragmented bison bone. We ran out of time to fully investigate these deeper features and will need to return to the site for additional excavations.

Bison bone feature
Bison bone feature

 

 

We are still processing artifacts and data collected in the field. We’ll post updates as our analysis continues—but here are a couple photos of objects we uncovered.

 

 

 

Tent stake next to turtle bone
Tent stake next to turtle bone

 

Projectile point
Projectile point
Beer can from modern fire pit
Beer can from modern fire pit
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