• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:45 AM


ROSSMAN, Nathan R., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 214 Bessey Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588, FREED Sr, Timothy W., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 312 Bessey Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588 and COOPER, Ryan M., Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, 601 Riverfront Drive, Omaha, NE 68102,

This study provides geomorphologic and historical map evidence identifying possible locations of preserved archaeological artifacts associated with two 18th century Native American villages. The cultural site is located two miles west of the confluence between Bow Creek and the Missouri River in Cedar County, Nebraska. Bad Village was established in 1720 by the Omaha tribe and was abandoned in 1739. In the late 1700s, another village (Petite Arch) was occupied nearby, and then abandoned in 1800. Four years later Lewis and Clark described the site as sitting at the foot of a hill in a handsome plain fronting the river [Missouri] that contained 100 huts and 200 men. A small creek [Bow Creek] falls into the river 15 yards wide below Petite Arch.

Using a hand auger system, 589 sediment samples were collected at intervals of four inches from 10 boreholes, drilled to a combined depth of 196 feet. Samples were described for grain size (USDA texture class), Munsell color, redoximorphic state, and organic components. Additionally, historic maps from 1796, 1804, 1839, 1855, 1858, 1881, 1892, 1899, and 1917, were utilized, along with a LiDAR dataset, topographic map, and aerial photos from 1941, 1993, and 2008. Maps from 1858 and later were added to an ArcGIS project map and georeferenced for spatial analysis and visual inspection.

The primary landscape feature at the site is a low terrace defined by an erosional scarp ~2 to 7 feet high on its northeastern margin regarded as an old Missouri River cut bank. Stratigraphic interpretation from the boreholes within the low terrace reveals ~2 to 6 foot thick overbank sedimentation overlying channel fill. Recently obtained sedimentation rates in the Lower Missouri River valley suggest that channel fills at the cultural site have ages greater than ~390 years (based on OSL dating). Likewise, surficial features and historic maps indicate that Bow Creek and its tributary, West Bow Creek, have not traversed a sizable tract of land within the terrace for several hundreds of years. A boundary enclosing an area of 121.3 acres was mapped indicating the highest likelihood for preserved artifacts from the time period considered. The results of this study are being used by the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Midwest Archaeological Center to plan an archaeological survey of the site.

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