History Speaks: Mississippi Archaeology

History Speaks at the Woodson History Center: New Discoveries in Wisconsin Archaeology: Rock Art and the Mississippian Settlement at Trempealeau


The Marathon County Historical Society presents “New Discoveries in Wisconsin Archaeology: Rock Art and the Mississippian Settlement at Trempealeau,” another topic in our History Speaks series, at 2 pm Sunday, August 26, 2018, at the Woodson History Center, 410 McIndoe St., Wausau. Speakers Danielle Benden and Robert Boszhardt of Driftless Pathways.


The presentation will highlight two amazing 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. Learn about this fascinating research, which 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 and beginning at 1 pm, audience members may bring 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.


Danielle Benden and Robert “Ernie” Boszhardt are owners of Driftless Pathways, LLC, a family owned business that focuses on Wisconsin archaeology and museum curation. Benden previously was Executive Director of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, MN, and later was senior curator in the UW-Madison Department of Anthropology. She also is chair of the Society for American Archaeology’s Committee on Museums, Collections, and Curation. Boszhardt is an archaeologist who has worked in the Upper Mississippi Valley for more than four decades, much of that time at the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He has published numerous articles and five books related to his work.


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


The Historical Society is grateful to Janke Book Store and to Compass Properties for their sponsorship of the History Speaks series.


Visitors might also enjoy a guided tour of the Yawkey House Museum, or visiting our 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, please call the Marathon County Historical Society at 715-842-5750.