Prehistoric quarry at G. Meadow to be subject of presentation

Published 5:33 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

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The public is invited to a program about one of Minnesota’s most important archaeological sites, the chert quarry near Grand Meadow.

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, archaeologist Tom Trow will explain the history of this unique quarry and its cultural significance for native people.

Trow will speak at the Mower County Historical Society in the Pioneer Building for his presentation. At 10 a.m., participants may view the Historical Society’s important collection of stone tools and chert artifacts in the adjacent Administration Building. Both venues are located at the Mower County Fairgrounds.

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This program will focus on recent scientific investigations at the Grand Meadow chert quarry and plans to develop the historical site for public access. The MCHS, in partnership with the Archaeological Conservancy and the Dakota Indian community at Prairie Island, will install informative signs and establish trails at the quarry in 2024.

These amenities will make the site accessible to interested visitors and provide an overview of the quarry’s 8,000 year history. Buried under rich topsoil are chert-bearing cobblestones.

Beginning about 8,000 years ago, Native American people mined rock at this Mower County location, skillfully crafting the chert stone into arrowheads, lance-points, and hand-tools.

Chert, a variety of flint, is readily fashioned into tools and was a vital resource for native people living in this region. Stone arrowheads and other cutting tools fashioned from Grand Meadow chert were widely distributed across the Midwest and were important to the economy of these prehistoric Indians.

Trow will discuss the technology of extracting and processing this useful stone and will address the archaeological features visible at the quarry today.

The program is free and open to the public, presented under the auspices of the Terry Dilley Symposium, a non-profit organization that hosts discussions on matters of general and scholarly interest in honor of the esteemed educator who taught for many decades at the Riverland Community College.

Coffee and cookies will be served at the Symposium.