On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, I traveled with my classmates to the Rice County Historical Society in Faribault, MN. There, we spoke with the society’s executive director, Susan Garwood, about the history, archaeology, and geology of Rice County. We learned about the development of Paleoindian and Native American stone tools, the geomorphology and glacial past of Rice County, and the life of Alexander Faribault, the man for whom the town of Faribault is named, among other historical information.
While I learned many things at the Rice County Historical Society, I was particularly fascinated with a story I heard about how Alexander Faribault sheltered some 200 Native Americans on his land after the Dakota War of 1862. When I walked around the museum, I found an 1882 map of Alexander Faribault’s land, produced by one of the Native American women he sheltered. I also found photos (and the gravestone) of Taopi, the Mdewakanton Dakota chief who was allowed to live on Faribault’s land with his people. Lastly, I found a portrait of Alexander Faribault himself, which was painted by Ivan Whillock. I hope to explore this period of Rice County history during the course and uncover the extent of Native American interaction with Alexander Faribault.
On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, I traveled to the Lower Arboretum to conduct an archaeological survey. My survey group was assigned to inspect a ravine and the surrounding hillside, which we soon discovered was a trash dump for farmers. Starting at the bottom of the ravine, I found multiple brown, rusted cans which were either cylindrical or square-like in appearance. The square-like cans had circular caps on them, which meant that they were probably used to contain some kind of liquid, such as water, oil, or paint. There were 9 cans in my immediate vicinity. As I walked up the ravine and continued my search, I could find no further evidence of material culture. When I concluded my search at the bottom of the hillside, I still found no signs of material culture. This led me to determine that the hillside next to the ravine had not been used as a trash dump by the farmers, who chose to deposit their trash in the steeper, more secluded ravine instead.