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 Muniz

Second Advisor

Rob Mann

Third Advisor

Michael Fosha

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

Archaeology, ceramics, pottery, Great Oasis, Mill Creek, Over focus


The Nonnast site (39ML0009) is a Plains Village site located in the Prairie Pothole region of Marshal County, South Dakota. The site was initially identified by a surface scatter of pottery that contained both Great Oasis and Mill Creek ceramic types. The Nonnast site is located outside the normal distribution for these two cultures which are concentrated in southeast South Dakota and northwest Iowa. The site was formally tested in 2015 then again in 2017. The resulting thesis is an analysis of the ceramic and other culturally diagnostic material recovered from the excavations. The goal of the research is to firmly establish who occupied the Nonnast site and when. With the use of AMS dates, chi-square statistical analysis and ceramic typologies it was determined that the Nonnast site contains one component that most closely resembles the Over focus of the eastern division of the Initial Middle Missouri.


First and foremost I would like to thank Michael Fosha of the South Dakota Historical Society Archaeological Research Center, not only for serving as an advisor on my committee, but for being a great mentor to me throughout my career. You have pushed me to become a better archaeologist. I would also like to thank my other two committee members, Dr. Rob Mann and Dr. Mark Muñiz of St. Cloud State University for their guidance throughout my graduate school endeavor.

Thank you to the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department who permitted the excavation at the Nonnast site. The excavation and resulting data could not have been obtained without the many volunteers of the South Dakota Archaeological Society: Terry Yun, Doyle Crume, Darrell Dehne, Ardith Sand, Rose Fosha and the Cumins Family. Thank you for your time and willingness to dig during the hot summer. Additionally, we could not have accessed the site without permission of adjacent landowners Joy and Joe Pitzl, thank you.

I would like to kindly thank the North Dakota Historical Society, University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist and the Iowa Archeological Society for the use of multiple images throughout this thesis. I also want to be sure to thank Dale Henning and Carl Falk for your opinions and willingness to discuss my research with me.

I am very grateful to the Archaeological Research Center and Katie Lamie for helping catalogue and sort through the excavated materials.

Lastly, I want to give a very special thank you to my husband, William Ernst. You have been extremely patient with me throughout this process. You have given me support, constructive criticism and encouragement when I needed it most. You are the best!



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