Date of this Version
United States Department of the Interior National Park Service Lincoln, Nebraska 2015
The National Park Service’s Midwest Archeological Center staff and instructors and participants of the 2010 NPS archeological prospection workshop, along with students from the University of North Dakota’s 2010 fieldschool conducted geophysical investigations at three sites within Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in Mercer County, North Dakota. The geophysical investigations were conducted between May 10 and May 29, 2010. The investigations at the Elbee site, 32ME408, and Site 32ME2377 were requested by the KNRI superintendent as part of the compliance activities related to the erosion of the Knife River bank in the vicinity of the two sites. The geophysical investigations at the Taylor Bluff site, 32ME366, were conducted as part of the field exercises associated with the twentieth annual NPS archeological prospection workshop. The geophysical survey at the Elbee site included a resistance survey with a resistance meter and twin-probe array, a limited magnetic survey with a dual fluxgate gradiometer, and the re-analysis of the 2002 and 2006 magnetic data from the site. The geophysical survey at Site 32ME2377 included a resistance survey with a resistance meter and twin probe array and a magnetic survey with a single fluxgate gradiometer. Primary data collected at the Taylor Bluff site during the workshop included a ground- penetrating radar survey with a 400 mHz antenna and a magnetic survey with a dual fluxgate gradiometer. The geophysical surveys were conducted in order to identify buried archeological remains in the vicinity of the Knife River bank at the Elbee site and Site 32ME2377. The survey results provide a baseline of archeological geophysical data for a data recovery project by the University of North Dakota’s archeological fieldschool. The survey data from Sites 32ME366, 32ME407, and 32ME2377 provide subsurface information for future park planning activities. The geophysical data also provide information on the potential damage to the archeological resources from the continued erosion of the Knife River bank. The geophysical surveys identified numerous buried archeological remains associated with the prehistoric human occupation of the Elbee site, the historic Native American occupation of the Taylor Bluff site, and more recent historic farming and modern NPS activities at all three sites. The combined total area investigated by the geophysical survey in the three KNRI geophysical project areas was 17,086 m2 or 4.22 acres. The Elbee site and the Taylor Bluff site were recommended as eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places while Site 32ME2377 was recommended as not eligible.