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Published by Rob Furnald

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Published by: Rob Furnald on Dec 26, 2010
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Paleo-Indian TraditionArchaic Tradition
An archaeological study was conducted before the Cedar Creek Bridge was built on what hadbeen the Clark family farm in the village of Rothschild, Wisconsin. Prehistoric mounds andcampsites had been reported on the Clark property, and many important artifacts were recoveredduring the archaeological investigations at the Rodney Clark site. The following informationexplains the known prehistory of central Wisconsin, how natural resources were used by earlypeople in Wisconsin, and what was found during the archaeological investigations.
General Prehistory
North-central Wisconsin Archaeology Time Line (in thousands of years):-----------------------------------------B.C.----------------------------------------------------A.D.-------10987654321012 Paleo-Indian Archaic WoodlandPaleo-Indian TraditionPaleo-Indian people are the earliest knowninhabitants of north-central Wisconsin. Thesenomadic hunters arrived as the last glacial icewas retreating from the region, around 12,000years ago. Paleo-Indians explored Wisconsin’slandscape identifying essential resources such assources of flint stone. They survived on thenatural resources, which at that time includedmammoths, mastodons and other large animals.Archaic TraditionArtifacts recovered from the Rodney Clark siteindicate use during the Archaic and WoodlandTraditions, long after the glaciers had melted.The Archaic people hunted deer, elk and othersmall game, and harvested a variety of wild plantfoods such as nuts and berries. Ground stone axesand copper tools were manufactured at this time.Population increases would have limited groupmobility and led to the establishment of regionalterritories. Wide ranging trade networks alsodeveloped as indicated by artifacts made fromimported materials at some Archaic sites.
Woodland TraditionOneota TraditionWoodland TraditionThe Woodland Tradition is characterized by aseries of important innovations. “Woodland” ismarked by the introduction of pottery, burial inearthen mounds, and horticulture beginning 2,500years ago. The bow and arrow was adopted bylocal Woodland groups toward the end of thisperiod, and greatly enhanced hunting capabilities.This also corresponds to a period of populationincrease, tighter social territories, resource stress,and ultimately increased warfare. These factors,along with influences from new population centersin southern Illinois, contributed to the transitionfrom Woodland hunter-gatherers to theagriculturally based Oneota culture around 800years ago.Oneota TraditionOneota culture sites are recognized by distinctiveshell-tempered pottery and evidence for moreintensive corn-based agriculture. WhileWoodland sites have been found acrossWisconsin’s landscape, Oneota villages areclustered in specific localities, and nearly all of the Wisconsin River Valley was virtuallyunoccupied during this period.Historic PeriodDuring the French, British and American regimes, the central Wisconsin River Valley wasvisited by a number of tribes. Principal among these were the Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Ojibwaand Potawatomi. No evidence for historic Native American use of the Rodney Clark site hasbeen found, although tribal peoples undoubtedly used the general area, and some are likelydescendants of the Archaic and Woodland people who utilized the site between 1,000 and 3,000years earlier.
Outcrop of quartz nodules at the DuBayBoulder site.Smashing quartz with ahammerstone results in manyshattered flakes. Forming tools fromthese flakes is very difficult.
Stone tools such as spear points were madethrough a process called
. Thisinvolves breaking flint stone (glass-like rock) ina controlled manner to chip off flakes and formtools such as spear tips, arrowheads, knives, hidescrapers and drills. There are many kinds of flintstone such as chert, silicified sandstone, andquartz. In central and northern Wisconsin, chertand silicified sandstone are very rare, but quartzis common. Quartz is a relatively low grade flintstone and often occurs as small cobbles. Largenodules of relatively high-quality quartz existsnear Wausau, and this was the primary stone thatwas flintknapped at the Rodney Clark site.There are two basic ways to flintknapquartz. Cobbles were often crushed onan anvil stone, by smashing with ahammer stone. This process is called
technology and produces manysmall shatter flakes, which are difficult tofurther shape into formal tools.

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