In 1942, four seniors at Cornell College petitioned for a field school at the nearby Minott’s Rockshelter. The archaeologist Charles R. Keyes had recently confirmed Native American occupation of the site and under his tutelage they would conduct their first excavation. Over a period of six weeks they recovered hundreds if not thousands of artifacts which were boxed and stored first by the Iowa State Historical Society and later by the Office of the State Archaeologist. The artifacts spent decades virtually untouched.
I have catalogued the lithics, or stone tools, of the collection and created the first record of this kind for the collection. Specifically, this catalogue focuses on the raw material used for the tools, which was primarily Wapsipinicon/Scotch Grove and Maynes Creek chert. By identifying the different types of raw materials used for the creation of these lithics, the movements of the rockshelter’s inhabitants can be tracked as there are only a few areas where these stones could be obtained. This suggests that the inhabitants either traveled from regions where these quarries existed or traded with people who had access to the chert.
Thomas Pitkin, ’14
Major: Individualized: Archaeology
Sponsor: John Gruber-Miller