River Vista and Timid Mink - Passport in Time

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Artifact Analysis for the River Vista and Timid Mink Sites

Ottawa National Forest, Michigan, 2003
by Loreen Lomax, FS Archaeologist

The Artifact Analysis for the River Vista and Timid Mink Sites PIT project was a huge success. Volunteers completed the analyses and cataloged all artifacts from both sites. Excavations conducted at the River Vista and Timid Mink sites were among the first PIT projects held in the early to mid-1990s. The Late Woodland period artifacts (ca. 3200–1000 B.P.) included quartz and quartzite material ranging from large cores to microflakes, pottery, chert projectile points, and abundant flakes and fragments.

The River Vista and Timid Mink sites are both excellent examples of prehistoric land use and occupation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The River Vista site is closely associated with the Lac Vieux Desert–L’Anse Trail as it crosses the Tamarack River. The Lac Vieux Desert– L’Anse Trail was an important transportation route connecting the Ojibwe village of Katakitekon on Lac Vieux Desert to the villages and French missions at Keweenaw Bay. American Indians, missionaries, fur traders, loggers, and miners all used this trail from the 1700s into the early 20th century.

Finds from the Timid Mink site represent the domestic architecture of the Late Woodland period. During the initial excavation in 1990, a house feature was identified, and ceramics and other artifacts—including fire-cracked rocks and quartz cores, flakes, cobbles, and debitage—were discovered nearby. The concentration of ceramics, including a partially articulated pot base and more than 200 rim and body sherds, are consistent with activity that would have taken place in or near a house.
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