Mapping the Waterford Mill

By Ali Ali, Aaron Forman, Julianne Pyron, Aubrey Rawles, and Sam Wege

Welcome to the main page for the mapping team of 2019’s ARCN 246 class! The main goal for these pages is to give spatial information about the Waterford Mill as an archaeological site, and to orient the Mill geographically with respect to other Minnesotan flour mills of the Industrial Era.

Waterford Archaeological Site Map

The link above leads to an interactive map which displays the survey units, excavation trenches, and other features identified by the class during lab. Each week, the Waterford Archaeological Team used a differential GPS satellite to take points throughout the Waterford Mill Archaeological Site, saving all points in a folder for the team to access. Each point was checked to determine which would be useful in creating an accurate interactive map of the site. Once the correct points were selected, they were uploaded to ArcGIS in order to create the map. The map contains descriptions of each feature, as well as the distribution of artifacts by material. With this map, we hope to provide a specific and in-depth view of our archaeological process at the Waterford Mill Archaeological Site.

Minnesota Mill Map

The page linked above contains a map showing the locations of the many historical grist (flour) mills in Minnesota. Our interest in the wider mill network was sparked when our class visited the Oxford Mill and the Archibald Mills in southeastern Minnesota. To create this map, we searched for historic grist mills by county, delving into records from Historical Societies, township histories, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. Using a combination of these sources and Google Maps, we determined the location of each mill as closely as we could, and then created the map. Each point on the map corresponds to a mill or several mills in the same town, and includes either a photo of the historic mill, or a picture of what the site looks like today. Many also include links for further reading. By showing the pattern of mill placement throughout the state, we hope to place the Waterford Mill within its spacial and geographic context as a contributor to the once-mighty Minnesota flour industry.

Related pages of interest on the ARCN Website

For readers who would like to learn more about the relationship between mills and the towns in which they were built, the pages on the archaeology of cemeteries in the Cannon River Valley region provide insights into the impact of flour mills in their local communities.

If you are interested in the impact of the Waterford Mill in the present day, the Documentary Video: Oral Histories page contains interviews with several members of the class, who discuss their final projects and highlights of excavating at the Mill, as well as an interview with a Waterford resident.

For those who want to find out more about the timeline of the milling industry at the Waterford mill and in the Northfield area in general, the Documentary Timeline is an interactive resource with photographs and short historical accounts.


Deetz, James. In Small Things Forgotten : The Archaeology of Early American Life. 1st ed. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1977.

Fossum, P.R. 1930. Early Milling in the cannon River Valley. Minnesota History 11(3): 271-282. Retrieved from

Frame, R. (1978). MHS Collections: Mills Machines and Millers: Minnesota Sources for Flour-Milling Research. Minnesota History,46(4), 152-162. Retrieved from

Thank you for visiting our site! —The Waterford Mill (2019) mapping team