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Archeological Publications

The Nebraska State Historical Society recognizes the need to balance archeological conservation and the public's desire to participate in research. Several publications that interpret Nebraska prehistory are directed to this need. Copies may be purchased from the NSHS Landmark Store.

Engineer Cantonment
The Search for Engineer Cantonment
The following is a brief description of events relating to the recent discovery of the archeological remains of Engineer Cantonment, the 1819­20 winter quarters of Maj. Stephen H. Long's scientific party. This small group of scientists and support staff was part of a much larger undertaking, known variously as the Yellowstone or Missouri Expedition, which was led by Colonel Henry Atkinson (Goodwin 1917; Nichols 1969; Wesley 1931). The primary object of the expedition was to establish a military presence on the upper Missouri River.

The military component of the expedition, consisting of more than a thousand men of the Sixth Infantry and the Rifle Regiment, was intended to provide protection to the expanding American fur trade and to lessen the influence of British traders from Canada on the Native American tribes of the northern Great Plains. To accomplish this mission, the establishment of two or more semi-permanent forts on the Missouri was contemplated.

The scientific branch of the expedition..." (1 megabyte PDF)

Archeological Records
The Importance and Care of Archeological Records
"What are archeological records? Archeological records include notes, drawings, photographs, maps, charts, and other materials that record information about archeological activities. The notes an archeologist makes when planning an excavation, photographs taken of the terrain of a site, data that indicates the GIS positioning of each artifact in the ground, and charts that tabulate information from the analysis of the excavated artifacts all make up the body of materials known as archeological records.

Archeological records can be divided into three main classes: field related records, research interpretation records, and curation records . . ." (409k PDF)

1887 Adobe Barracks
1887 Adobe Barracks, Fort Robinson, Nebraska
"Camp Robinson was established in 1874 as a temporary U.S. Army post adjacent to the Red Cloud Indian Agency on the White River in northwestern Nebraska. Ten years later the post was still in existence and plans for its enlargement were being put into effect. By the mid-1880s the army was beginning to consolidate its activities along the growing railroad network of the United States. Because of Fort Robinson's advantageous location, near one of the recently established Sioux Indian reservations and on a new rail line, it was selected for expansion to accommodate a regimental headquarters.

Although the post was only about ten years old, many of its buildings (most of which had been constructed of pine logs cut from the neighboring Pine Ridge escarpment) were beginning to show signs of serious deterioration. Because of the increasing cost to maintain the existing structures, and the need for new buildings as part of the expansion, the army decided to construct what was essentially a new fort around a larger parade ground directly northwest of the 1874 parade ground and building complex. . . ." (811k PDF)

High Plains Archeology
High Plains Archeology

"The Nebraska Panhandle is an area characterized by varied topography and climatic extremes lying within an upland region known as the High Plains. Western Nebraska is rich in archeological resources and the full range of cultural/temporal periods is represented in its archeological record. . . ." (698k PDF)

Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks
The Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks, Fort Robinson, Nebraska

"The U.S. Army outpost of Camp Robinson was established in 1874 in response to the need for a military presence near the Red Cloud Indian Agency in northwest Nebraska. The camp was designated as Fort Robinson in 1878. One of the original buildings at the camp was a cavalry barracks erected in 1874. This building was the scene of a major event in Western frontier history, the 1879 Cheyenne Outbreak.

The Nebraska State Historical Society conducted the archeological excavation of the remains of this building during the summers of 1987, 1988, and 1989. The purpose of this excavation was to gather additional structural evidence and artifacts for its eventual reconstruction and interpretation. This booklet outlines the history associated with the building and some of the archeologists' findings. . . ." (646k PDF)

Sand Hills Archeology
Sand Hills Archeology

"Covering approximately 20,000 square miles, the Nebraska Sand Hills is the largest grass-stabilized dune field in the western hemisphere. The area is a 'frontier' in the sense that much remains to be learned about its combination of geologic, biologic, hydrologic and cultural resources. Archeological research in the region has primarily consisted of unsystematic surveys with occasional surface collections and excavations. Funded opportunities to conduct large scale cultural resource management studies are infrequent, particularly within the Sand Hills interior. Shifting dune fields during the past 10,000 years have left many locations of prehistoric activity either deflated in blowouts or buried under many feet of sand. Despite these obstacles, the region holds great promise for a fuller understanding of Central Plains human adaptation. . . ." (812k PDF)

Lower PlatteValley Native Americans, A.D. 1000 - 1400
"As motorists today travel along Interstate 80, and cross the Platte River, most do not realize that people lived here for thousands of years before there was a Nebraska or a United States. Since the early 1980s, the Nebraska Department of Roads, the Nebraska State Historical Society, and the Federal Highway Administration, have teamed up to explore some villages of these 'ancient Nebraskans.' The most significant investigations have been at the Patterson site, an almost 1,000-year-old Indian village. The archeological remnants of dwellings were found on either side of highway N-31 several miles south of Interstate 80. . . ." (436k PDF)

Blue River Basin Archeology book cover
Blue River Basin Archeology
"In the spring of 1993 the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office commissioned the Archeology Laboratory, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to conduct a search for archeological sites in the Blue River Basin. This search covered 5,500 acres in Seward and Thayer counties, and recorded 33 previously unknown archeological sites. Information in this pamphlet on the Native American and Euroamerican history of the area is derived from that survey and earlier work done in the watershed and surrounding region. . . ." (362k PDF)

Central Plains Archaeology is a publication jointly sponsored by the Society and the Nebraska Association of Professional Archeologists. The journal reports the results of recent archeological investigations and is available at the NSHS in Lincoln. View abstracts from CPA back issues online.



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Last updated 10 November 2004

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