The Prairie Island Indian Community (PIIC) recently purchased property, on which a portion of a prominent archeological site, encompassing 67 formerly documented burial mounds, resides. In order to better protect the burial mounds and other culturally significant material on the site, as well as on sites residing on the remainder of their new property, the PIIC enlisted the support of Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Earth Science, Archeology, Resources, and Terrestrial Hazards (EARTH) Systems Research Laboratory in developing a site treatment plan. Developing a useful site treatment plan necessitated conducting a geoarcheological survey of a portion of the archeological site, known as the Belle Creek Mounds site, on the acquired property. The survey included both geospatial and geophysical survey to locate and identify burial mounds, impacts to burial mounds, and evidence of site usage. Limited excavation took place to better understand the extent to which buried cultural materials need protection, how ancient people used the archeological site in the distant past, and how Belle Creek Mounds relates to other sites in the surrounding area. Geophysical techniques produced results supporting their effectiveness at identifying impacted and previously unmapped mounds on site. The artifacts recovered during limited excavation at Belle Creek Mounds are similar to artifacts recovered at previously investigated aggregation villages within the Red Wing Region. This thesis is for use by PIIC, in combination with geospatial and geophysical datasets generated by this and related projects, to assist in protecting the Belle Creek Mounds site and surrounding sites and in setting a precedent supporting greater use of geophysical techniques in archeological investigations of potential mortuary features.


Ronald C. Schirmer

Committee Member

Phillip H. Larson

Committee Member

Kathleen T. Blue

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)

Program of Study

Applied Anthropology


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright