ARCH 2: North Lauder Locale
The North Lauder locale has a long archaeological and geological history that is important for understanding the forces that shaped the region. Archaeological research in the locale shows that the area has been occupied by humans for at least the past 6,500 years. Environmental forces provided an area of diverse resources that attracted early peoples.
Environment of the Lauder Sandhills
The North Lauder locale is part of the greater Lauder Sandhills area. The glaciers that covered this region began to recede approximately 11,000 years ago leaving a large lake known as glacial Lake Hind. The Souris River, the Lauder Sandhills and the Oak Lake Aquifer are remnants of the environmental and geological forces that shaped the region.
The Lauder Sandhills region is characterized by a landscape of sand sheets and stabilized sand dunes interspersed with a variety of wetlands. This complex topographic and hydrological situation favoured the development of an island mosaic of mixed forest, wetland and meadow, surrounded by mixed grass prairie. The result was a large, isolated ecotone which provided a rich variety of subsistence resources for hunter-gatherers.
Research in the Lauder Sandhills
Archaeologists from Brandon University have been conducting research in the Lauder Sandhills since 1991. Research in the North Lauder locale has focused on the Atkinson site, a 6,500 year old hunter-gatherer site and Flintstone Hill.
The Atkinson site
The Atkinson site is one of the oldest excavated sites in Manitoba and has been Radiocarbon dated to 6,500 years before present. The Atkinson site is located on the bank of the Souris River and was discovered when a hearth (fire pit) was seen eroding out of the bank. Based on the date of the site and the kind of lithics (stone tools) present it is considered a Gowen occupation. The Atkinson site is evidence that bison hunters were active on the northern plains at a very early date. Similar sites have also been found on the High Plains in the U.S. and are referred to as the Mummy Cave Complex.
The Atkinson Site is of great importance as it is the first undisturbed site of this type to be excavated in Manitoba and extends the range of these sites south and east from the type-sites in central Saskatchewan.
The geomorphology of the glacial Lake Hind Basin over the past 11,000 years is known primarily through the study of a cut bank along the Souris River. Flint Stone Hill contains the most complete stratigraphic record for the post-glacial period on the northern plains. The site has been extensively studied by geoarchaeologists, geologists and paleoenvironmentalists over many years and their findings have contributed to our understanding of the region.
The North Lauder locale Borden designations of Atkinson site DiMe-27 and Flintstone Hill site DiMe-26.
Archaeological sites in Canada are identified by the Borden system, which is a uniform site designation system. The country is divided into grids based on latitude and longitude in blocks of 10 x 20 minutes. The first 4 letters indicate the block and the following numbers indicate the actual site. For example the area of the Lauder Sandhills in southwestern Manitoba is identified by the letters DM and the North Lauder locale within that area is DiMe. The Atkinson site is DiMe-27 and the Flintstone Hill site DiMe-26. As new sites are discovered they will be numbered sequentially.
Scope and Content
The Series has been divided into two sub-series, including (1) Atkinson site DiMe-27 and Flintstone Hill site DiMe-26.
The Lovstrom locale first came to the attention of Dr. Nicholson through conversations with landowners Mr. and Mrs. Herb Lovstrom in 1985. Lovstrom is a multi-component archaeological locale located 25km south of Brandon overlooking the Souris River channel. The landowner’s surface collection and the presence of bone and artifacts in a cultivated field indicated the presence of one or more sites.
Limited testing was conducted in 1985 and 1986, followed by major excavations in 1987, 1988 and 1991. Eight sites of block excavations with a total of 132 1m2 excavation units were completed. The locale area extends approximately 500m north from the edge of the Souris Valley escarpment and over 200m east from the Jock’s Creek escarpment.
Physical and biological environment As has been noted above, the locale is bounded on the south by the Souris channel and on the west by the incised channel of Jock’s Creek and a till plain extends to the north and the east. This plain is characterized by buff colored glacial till with numerous rocks embedded in the surface. Surrounding these rocky knolls are dark-soil hollows where the various cultural occupations are found. The depth of the topsoil layer suggests a long term grassland cover with the present oak forest likely developing in historic times due to the elimination of bison grazing and the controlling of prairie fires in late historic times. A small cleared patch of farmland is found within the boundaries of the locale area. This area has provided a substantial surface collection of artifacts.
Present vegetation in the area is a mosaic of aspen/oak forest groves and mesic grass prairie that includes introduced species such as brome grass. In poorly drained areas, willow and red osier dogwood are present. The Lovstrom locale is found in a forested area dominated by oak with an under story of saskatoon, chokecherry, pin cherry, and hazelnut brush. Poison ivy is abundant as well as sarsaparilla.
The major faunal resources in Precontact times would have been bison, with elk and mule deer playing a minor role. Antelope may have been present also. Small animals included snowshoe hare, cottontails, porcupines and beaver. Canids, including wolf, coyote, fox and domesticated dog were present, as well as mustelids such as badger, mink, and weasel. Fragments from a fisher were also recovered in the excavations.
The Lovstrom locale has eight sites. The sites were designated and excavated as Blocks A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. Many of the sites are multi-occupations.
The Vickers materials are primarily confined to Blocks D, E, F, G and H. Vickers Focus materials overlie Blackduck/Duck Bay materials. Blackduck and Duck Bay materials are found in the lower levels of all excavation blocks and in most test units. The Vickers occupations at the Lovstrom locale, based upon ceramic wares and an overlapping of C14 dates, appear to have been contemporary with the Lowton type site to the east, near Belmont. A small protohistoric occupation was identified overlying part of Block D. Faunal remains are abundant with bison clearly dominating the assemblages. Lesser amounts of canid are present as well as small mammals including beaver, hare and mustelids. Small amounts of avian species are also present.
2011 The Role of Pocket Gophers (Thomomys talpoides) in Restructuring Stratigraphic Relationships at the Lovstrom Site. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 35:323-331.
Nicholson, Bev, Scott Hamilton, Matthew Boyd and Sylvia Nicholson
2008 A Late Plains Woodland Adaptive Strategy in the Northern Parklands: the Vickers Focus Forager-Horticulturists. Invited Paper for Papers in Northeastern Plains Prehistory, eds. Michael G. Michlovic and Dennis L. Toom, North Dakota Journal of Archaeology Vol. 8:19-34.
Nicholson, Bev and Scott Hamilton
2001 Cultural Continuity and Changing Subsistence Strategies During the Late Precontact Period in Southwestern Manitoba. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 25:53-73.
1996 Plains Woodland Influx and the Blackduck Exodus in South-Western Manitoba During the Late Precontact Period. Manitoba Archaeological Journal 6(1):69-85.
Nicholson, Bev and Mary Malainey
1991 Report on the 1991 Field School Excavations at the Lovstrom Site (DjLx-1), Southwestern Manitoba. Manitoba Archaeological Journal 1(2): 51-93.
Nicholson, Bev and Jane Gibson
1990-91 Lovstrom Site Field Report, 1987 Excavations. Saskatchewan Archaeology 11&12:46-68.
Nicholson, Bev and Ian Kuiijt
1990 Field Report and Interpretations of the 1988 Archaeological Excavations at the Lovstrom Site (DjLx-1) in Southwestern Manitoba. North Dakota Journal of Archaeology 4:166-205.
1990 Ceramic Affiliations and the Case for Incipient Horticulture in Southwestern Manitoba. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 14:33-60.
1986 The Lovstrom Site: Culture Contact in Prehistory. Manitoba Archaeological Quarterly 10(1):35-71.
Scope and Content
The Series has been divided into nine sub-series, including (1) Survey (2) Block A; (3) Block B (4) Block C; (5) Block D; (6) Block E; (7) Block F; (8) Block G; (9) Block H
Information on archaeological materials in this locale first came to the attention of Dr. Nicholson through Doug Jackson, a local artifact collector from Souris. Doug had observed archaeological materials that included bone, ceramics and lithic material that had been exposed by municipal road building activity, northwest of Lauder Manitoba
The Makotchi-Ded Dontipi locale is located among stabilized sand dunes in the Lauder Sandhills in Southwestern Manitoba, northwest of the village of Lauder. The area is a mosaic of medium grass prairie and copses of aspen poplar and aspen-oak, together with intermittent sedge grass marshes and small ponds. These wetlands are bordered with balsam poplar, water birch, willows and red osier dogwood.
The well-drained upland forest also contains saskatoon, chokecherry, wild current, hazelnut bushes and occasional wild plums. Lowland areas have nannyberries and high-bush cranberry. Wild strawberries grow in lightly shaded areas along trail margins and in open patches in aspen forest.
History of Excavations
The Makotchi-Ded Dontipi locale is a virtual "island" of forest and marshlands in a vast expanse of mixed grass prairie. This archaeologically and environmentally rich area was given the Dakota name Makotchi-Ded Dontipi, meaning "the place where we live".
Prior to European settlement, the area was a rich environment for hunter-gatherer people. Archaeological investigations from 1992 to 2002 have revealed numerous sites within the locale. Some of these sites have been extensively excavated while others have been identified or tested.
Seven sites that have been identified in this locale range in age from the historic through protohistoric periods and extend into the middle precontact period. The major sites are the initial Middle Missouri Duthie site, the late precontact Jackson, Bradshaw sites and the protohistoric Twin Fawns, Schuddemat and Hollow B sites. The multi-component Vera site includes historic Métis, late precontact Vickers Focus, and middle precontact Besant, Pelican Lake, McKean Complex and Oxbow occupations. Over 230 units were excavated as well as numerous test pits and several extensive surveys.
Scope and Content
Scope and Content
The Series has been divided into seven sub-series, including (1) Duthie site (2) Jackson site (3) Twin Fawns site (4) Vera site (5) Schuddemat site (6) Bradshaw site (7) Hollow B site.
Artifact catalogue containing 455 records from Atkinson II site 2004.
Scope and Content
Spreadsheet containing information about the artifacts recovered, including: unit, level, artifact number, catalogue number, depth, co-ordinates, entry date, date recovered,count, weight, UTM co-ordinates, notes(excavators initials and comments) and artifact identification.