Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Archaeological Surveys

Amanda Gronhovd is working on a mystery with very few clues.

“There’s not much to go on,” Gronhovd said. “There are very few archaeological sites recorded in this county.”

Gronhovd is president of 10,000 Lakes Archaeology in South St. Paul. But her work will soon bring her to Steele County where she hopes to fill in some gaps about the county’s past.

Rectangle-shaped Steele County in southeast Minne- sota is 432 square miles, but only 16 archaeological sites have been identified. With $250,000 in Arts and Cultural Heritage funding, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Office of the State Archaeologist and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council are awarding and overseeing contracts for survey projects in Steele, McLeod and Red Lake Counties in fiscal year 2012. Last biennium, surveys were completed in six other Minnesota counties (see map).

Amanda Gronhovd works on a computer
model that will help find potential
archaeological sites in Steele County

Before Gronhovd and her crew can start digging, they are creating a computer model to find potential sites.

Gronhovd said there used to be a lot of lakes in Steele County that were drained so the land could be used for agriculture.

“We want to know where, historically and prehistorically, the water was located because that’s where the people would have been,” Gronhovd said.

What Gronhovd and her crew find when they get into the field in spring 2012 will help county and state agencies plan. They will know where archaeological sites are before they start building a new road or other project.

What Gronhovd and her crew find will also help paint a more complete picture of Steele County’s and Minnesota’s past.

“The more information we have, the more we can understand how the people who were here long before us interacted and traded with one another.”
~ Amanda Gronhovd, 10,000 Lakes Archaeology