The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Cultural Resources Management Archaeology: M.S.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Mark Muñiz

Second Advisor

Debra Gold

Third Advisor

Benjamin Richason

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Old Copper, Minnesota Archaeology, Oxbow Complex, Middle Archaic



In 2004, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Paul District, contracted Florin Cultural Resource Services (FCRS) to conduct a Phase III data recovery at a portion of the Sandy Lake Dam site (21AK11) prior the expansion of an existing comfort station in the Sandy Lake Recreation Area. The Sandy Lake Dam site is a multi-component site with occupations from the Old Copper complex phase of the Archaic period, of which little is known in the state of Minnesota, as well as the Late Woodland and Historic periods. The site has integrity, containing intact stratified cultural deposits with an Old Copper component below a Late Woodland component. This thesis research focuses on the Old Copper complex component of the portion of the Sandy Lake Dam site that was excavated during the 2004 FCRS data recovery. Copper artifacts were analyzed and typed, and lithic tools associated with the intact Old Copper component of the site were re-examined. The Old Copper component was compared and contrasted to other Old Copper complex sites in Minnesota. The site also presented an opportunity to add information to the database of Fat Rock Quartz, which has only recently been recognized as a distinctive lithic raw material type. A new radiocarbon date from the Old Copper component of the site is discussed. Conclusions based on the artifact assemblage, patterning, and the radiocarbon date are discussed in regards to site function. The radiocarbon date from the Sandy Lake Dam site provides solid evidence that Archaic inhabitants of northeastern Minnesota were actively involved in the early part of the Old Copper complex, well over six thousand years ago.



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