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Historical Society to host presentation on archaeology

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WAUSAU — The Marathon County Historical Society will host “New Discoveries in Wisconsin Archaeology: Rock Art and the Mississippian Settlement at Trempealeau” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Woodson History Center, 410 McIndoe St., Wausau.

Speakers are Danielle Benden and Robert Boszhardt of Driftless Pathways. The afternoon will include an artifact ID session beforehand, at 1 pm.

The presentation will highlight two discoveries in Wisconsin archaeology. The first half of the presentation will introduce ancient Native American carvings and paintings, the content of which was recently summarized in the award-winning book “Hidden Thunder: Rock Art of the Upper Midwest.” The second half will feature the ongoing excavations in Trempealeau, Wisconsin. At Trempealeau, Benden and Boszhardt have unearthed a 1,000-year-old settlement established by a group of “Mississippian” people who canoed more than 500 miles up the Mississippi River from their homeland and America’s first city: Cahokia. This research has been summarized in the popular book “Beneath Your Feet: Archaeology at Trempealeau.” Copies of these and other books will be available for purchase and signing that day.

Before the presentation, beginning at 1 pm, audience members can take in Native American artifacts from the Midwest for identification. Benden and Boszhardt will offer information about the age, material and function of these artifacts. Items such as arrowheads, spear tips, chipped knives and drills, stone axes, pipes and more are welcome. Please note that American era antiques cannot be identified nor can appraisals be made.

There is no admission fee; however, donations are appreciated. Registration is not required.

Visitors might also enjoy a guided tour of the Yawkey House Museum or visiting its free exhibit spaces. “Milking Time: Evolution of the Dairy Industry in Marathon County,” shows the hard work that went into creating fields after forests were logged off, and the progress made in breeding, testing, medicine and education that enabled dairying to develop into a viable business option. “Rural Electrification: Outlet for Change depicts life before and after electricity made its slow way into rural areas of Marathon County in the 1930s and ‘40s. “Our Stories: The History of Marathon County features reminiscences of how people arrived in this area, and how they worked and played in days gone by.

For more information, call the Marathon County Historical Society at 715-842-5750.

Photo courtesy Marathon County Historical Society.

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