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

Rob Mann

Second Advisor

Debra Gold

Third Advisor

Mark Muniz

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

US-Dakota War, St. Cloud, Forts, Minnesota, History, Archaeology


This thesis is about my efforts to locate Fort Holes – a civilian fortification built in September of 1862 in response to the nearby threats of Native American violence. A decade after the western parts of Minnesota were opened to Euro-American settlement, the actions of government agents, traders, and a small group of Native American actors led to violence on the frontier. The citizens of Saint Cloud constructed Fort Holes in a week and it only stood for a couple of years before they removed the lumber for the growing city. Throughout Minnesota, citizens constructed over 50 of these expedient “settlers’ forts,” sometimes in as little as 24 hours. As of 2014, none of these forts from the U.S. – Dakota War of 1862 had been examined archaeologically. In the summer of 2015, I began work on studying Fort Holes. The project included archival research, a gradiometer survey, and a targeted shovel test survey based on the results of the gradiometer survey to identify archaeological features or artifacts associated with the fort. The artifacts of that excavation were then cleaned, analyzed, and inventoried. While no definitive features or artifacts were found, the archival resources, as well as the gradiometer results show that this is likely the location of the fort, and larger excavations may reveal features missed in this project.



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