Exploring the Artifacts of Northeastern Mississippi Museums: A Guide for Collectors

Many people who are passionate about collecting artifacts from the Upper Mississippi Valley, such as spearheads, arrowheads, and other relics, can gain insight into the culture that lived at each site, the age of the site, how people survived, and what commercial networks they may have used. Archaeology has a long history of private collectors making important contributions by sharing their knowledge. Unfortunately, some untrained individuals excavate sites or actively buy and sell artifacts, which destroys the fundamental information needed to interpret the past. When dealing with collections from the plains, staff are interested in properly identifying objects based on where they were collected and not on their origin.

This includes collections related to Red River and other mestizo peoples that are scattered in other cultural funds from the plains, subarctic, and forests of the Northeast. Exhibition manufacturing and installation at each museum began in March and is expected to be completed in November. Installation of artifacts will begin in October. If help is needed to identify an artifact in the Upper Mississippi River Valley or Upper Midwest, Jean Dowiasch can be contacted at Jean. The archaeological collections of the Northeast contain a large number of aesthetically attractive objects such as headstones, bird headstones, and kites due to George Heye's purchase of several large collections brought together by others.

Heye was based in New York City and was interested in local archaeology. He sponsored excavations in New York and New Jersey which produced important documented collections that complement representative collections from other northeastern states and Ontario. This includes important materials from Susquehannock, Waubesa points well-dated at sealed Early Woodland shell dump sites in the Upper Mississippi Valley associated with Prairie Ware ceramic sand glued together and dated between A.Several components of the collection come from military personnel who fought in the “Indian Wars” such as General Nelson Miles and Major John Gregory Bourke. Numerous objects refer to well-known people such as Sitting Bull, Rain in the Face, Geronimo, Chief Joseph, Standing Bear and others.

Heye also made large investments to obtain representative collections from Mexico and Latin America for his Central American Archaeology collection (29,900 objects). This type has been found in extinct mammoths and mastodons in several places in the western and midwestern United States including the Kimmswick site in Missouri and perhaps the Boaz mastodon site in Richland County (Wisconsin).This guide is adapted from a version published by the University of Iowa's publisher, A Projectile Point Guide for the Upper Mississippi River Valley. It includes only ten of the most common types of spots found in the Upper Mississippi River Valley such as Madison Triangular points which were first named in an unpublished guide to projectile points in the center of the Mississippi Valley based on examples found at Cahokia site and St. Cross-dating can be applied to points found in excavations, plowed fields, or private collections. For example, spots with shrinking roots are named Waubesa in Wisconsin and Upper Mississippi Valley while nearly identical spots are called Belknap or Dickson in Illinois and Gary points to south and east. For those interested in collecting artifacts from Northeastern Mississippi museums, this guide provides an overview of what to expect when exploring these sites.

From identifying artifacts based on where they were collected to understanding how military personnel contributed to these collections, this guide provides an expert's perspective on Northeastern Mississippi museums.

Kevin Gilstad
Kevin Gilstad

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