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Central Plains Archeology


Volume 2, Number 1 (1990), 131 pages

Presenting Nebraska Archaeology to the Public, 1878-1986
R. Eli Paul

Museum exhibition of Nebraska archaeology has a long history within the state's cultural institutions, most notably the Nebraska State Historical Society. Exhibitions have reflected individual museum curators and their times. Other institutions, and presentations in other media, have disseminated knowledge to the public about Nebraska's past.

A Model for the Nebraska Phase
Donald J. Blakeslee

Sites of the Nebraska Phase vary widely in the number of houses they contain, and the houses themselves vary in size. A possible explanation for both types of variation sees the Nebraska Phase as the remains of populations of slash and burn horticulturalists who were adapted to the generally wooded loess bluffs along the Missouri River. In this model, large sites represent the accumulation of house remains from small communities. House size variation is, in part, the result of the natural cycling of extended family size. The two types of variation are linked in that the first houses occupied in a given location tend to be large multi-family dwellings, while later dwellings are the residences of individual extended families. Early dwellings also tend to be located on grassy ridge tops, while those built later in the settlement cycle may occupy abandoned fields on slopes and terraces.

Window Glass on the Plains: An Analysis of Flat Glass Samples from Ten Nineteenth Century Plains Historic Sites
Christopher M. Schoen

Flat glass samples were taken from ten nineteenth century Plains historic sites to evaluate the applicability of previous window glass thickness chronologies and to propose a similar chronological model for this region. Four conclusions were made as a result of the analyses. First, the Plains sites data support the hypothesis that window glass increases in thickness during the nineteenth century. Second, window glass thickness can be used to determine the mean occupation dates of historic sites. Third, window glass thickness can be used to estimate the initial date of construction and occupation of site structures if the period of occupation is less than twenty years. Fourth, such dating schemes are regional in their application. Variables such as the length of occupation, technology, and the costs of production and transportation, all affect the thickness of window glass found at historic sites.

Archaeology and Reconstruction of the Fort Atkinson Council House
Gayle F. Carlson

This report deals with archaeological investigations and related archival research conducted at Fort Atkinson (25WN9) State Historical Park, during the period June to August, 1984. The remains of Fort Atkinson are located about ten miles north of Omaha, just east of the town of Fort Calhoun, in southeastern Washington County, Nebraska. This post was occupied by troops of the United States Army from 1820 to 1827 (cf. Carlson 1979). The primary reasons for the 1984 archaeological investigations were to locate and excavate the remains of the Council House so that this former structure could be reconstructed and to investigate an area tentatively planned as the site of a visitors' center at the park to determine if significant archaeological remains were present (and, if so, excavate them). In addition to these primary objectives, minor testing was also carried out in two locations near the main excavation where the remains of the Council House were believed to be located. A preliminary laboratory analysis of material recovered during the excavations aided in the reconstruction of the Council House. This paper will focus on the portion of that research dealing with the Council House (Feature 50) and a nearby related area (Test Area 1).


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