North Dakota Archaeology Volume 9

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Greetings NDAA members!


As of October 2020, Volume 9 (2019) of North Dakota Archaeology has been mailed to members! Many thanks to those who submitted articles, to the peer reviewers, to the NDAA board, and Series Editor Brooke Morgan.


The volume includes three articles on a range of topics relating to North Dakota/Northern Plains archaeology. As a "sneak peek," here are the titles and abstracts. Members will receive an email from the NDAA officers soon about their plans for mailing journals. 

Archaeology of the Sprunk Site (32CS4478) by Michael G. Michlovic, George R. Holley, and Rinita A. Dalan (Minnesota State University, Moorhead, MN)

The Sprunk site (32CS4478) is a Late Prehistoric fortified settlement in southeastern North Dakota. Radiocarbon dates indicate an age of about 525 years ago. Excavations and geophysical survey from 2003-2006 indicated a mixed subsistence pattern including use of bison, waterfowl, small game and river clams. There is also evidence of local maize production, use of tobacco, and a variety of wild plants. The artifact collection includes Late Prehistoric projectile point types, various other bifacial and unifacial tools, and several ceramic wares, including Sandy Lake, Northeastern Plains Village (NEPV), and Oneota. The site was fortified with an encircling ditch. Geophysical surveys at the site showed structural signatures. The Sprunk site is part of the Northeastern Plains Village complex. Here, it is grouped with the nearby Shea site in a regional archaeological entity named the Shea phase. 


A History of Dendrochronology Studies in North Dakota by Joseph D. Zeleznik (North Dakota State University Extension) and Mark A. Gonzalez (US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management)

Although dendrochronology – tree-ring analysis – has not been used much in archaeological studies in North Dakota, a number of studies have taken place in the state and the region, often focused on environmental or ecological questions. This paper provides an exhaustive overview of the dendrochronology studies, surveys and reports that have taken place in North Dakota, along with a brief discussion of how those studies can apply to archaeology, anthropology and history. One section is focused on the work of George F. Will, who made the first attempts at dendrochronology studies in the state; the remaining sections are focused on the various applications of tree-ring analysis such as ecology and natural history, disturbance ecology, dendrogeomorphology, dendroclimatology, dendrohydrology, and dendroarchaeology. Suggestions for future research directions are given. 

Ceramic Acculturation in North Dakota's Charred Body Complex by Richard A. Krause (Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research)

In the 1950s the Middle Missouri Tradition was considered a product of the growth and spread of a single initial variant. In the 1970s Lehmer attributed a modified northern version of the variant (i.e., its Extended Variant) to immigrants from the eastern plains. Lehmer’s view was refuted in 1977 by Ann Johnson (1977:14-20). Johnson’s refutation was reinforced in the early 1990s by Ahler who demonstrated that Lehmer’s migration model did not apply to Plains Village Cultures in North Dakota (1993). Early in the 21st century, Ahler documented the in situ modification of resident North Dakota Woodland groups (the Charred Body Complex) to Middle Missouri Tradition norms of lithic production, bone tool manufacture, domiciliary and defensive architecture. In Ahler’s view, descendants of the Late Woodland Charred Body Complex interacted with Middle Missouri Variant indigenes to create a northern version of the Middle Missouri Tradition’s Extended Variant. This essay examines Charred Body ceramics from the perspective of the pattern of ceramic change that acculturation toward Middle Missouri Tradition norms would produce. The identified pattern of ceramic change supports Ahler’s claims about the creation of a northern version of the Middle Missouri Tradition’s Extended Variant.

Brooke Morgan

Series Editor, North Dakota Archaeology

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