Loup Canal system survey produces cultural artifacts

2010-05-05T09:00:00Z Loup Canal system survey produces cultural artifactsBy Eric Freeman efreeman@columbustelegram.com Columbus Telegram

COLUMBUS — An arrowhead dating from 500-1000 AD is among the artifacts discovered in a recent survey of the Loup Canal system.

The nearly completed “pedestrian survey” of the canal for cultural or historically significant artifacts included both sides of the canal from the Loup Power District’s Genoa Headworks to Tail Race Park south of Columbus.

Nancy Carlson, a contract archaeologist, was hired by Loup Power District to complete the survey, including the identification and documentation of artifacts or areas along the canal of potential historic significance.

The study is being done as part of the district’s ongoing relicensing project required by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC).

“The purpose of this study is to make sure Loup is in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966,” Carlson said. “The act was put in place to mitigate or prevent any adverse effects that could come into play through the development or maintenance of potentially historic areas and the artifacts that may be found in those areas.”

“The work is nearly complete, and I want to thank Alyce Tejral, of Genoa ,for helping with this survey.”

Carlson said she and Tejral were out in the field every day weather permitted since the survey began in mid-March.

“Loup Power District has done an outstanding job of erosion control along the canal system,” Carlson said.

Carlson said that outstanding work of erosion control accomplished with a variety of ground covers including grasses and trees.

She said while those practices did not necessarily make her job easier, it does provide another degree of protection for archaeologically significant areas that are located along the canal.

“In the course of the survey we did find some areas with scattered pottery, flaking or other archaeological significance,” Carlson said. “In those places, then Alyce and I would do a shovel test to see what else we could discover.”

Carlson said new areas as well as other known areas along the canal were documented. She said a GPS or a longitudinal and latitudinal reading was also taken and recorded for the final report that will be provided to the district.

“One artifact, which is very likely a Woodland Point or arrowhead and is about 1,000 years old, was found between Genoa and Monroe,” Carlson said. “We don’t like to be more specific than that which is another way of ensuring the preservation of those areas where we’re finding scattered debris, flakes or points.”

Tuesday morning Carlson was joined by Curator of Anthropology Alan Osborn of the University of Nebraska State Museum at the district’s Columbus Power House.

“The significance of a find such as this point (arrowhead) is we can often learn many things about the habits of those who would have made this artifact,” Osborn said. “For instance by matching this material with other known materials from other sites we can learn quite a bit about their traveling habits. Often times the Pawnee, for instance would have collected raw materials for their arrow heads while on a seasonal hunt in other areas of the state or region.”

Osborn explained that the artifacts known as flakes are in fact the bits of stone that were chipped off during the process of shaping a stone into an arrowhead.

Carlson said the field work is nearly done for the study and a rough draft is being worked on. She said a final study result will be presented to the Loup Power Board of Directors in the very near future.

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