The Blue Earth Oneota is a poorly defined taxon located in southern Minnesota. Few large-scale excavations have been conducted in the Blue Earth region, leading to gaps in the overall understating of western Oneota lifeway systems. This research utilizes archeozoological analysis on the zoological assemblage from the Vosburg site (21FA02), a Blue Earth Oneota site located in Faribault County. The Vosburg site is a large habitation site that has been excavated by Wilford in 1938 and 1947, Dobbs in 1979, and Schirmer in 2012. Legacy data from the 1938, 1947, and 1979 excavations was analyzed and compared to the zoological data from the 2012 excavation. All zoological material recovered during excavation was analyzed. All pieces of bone were identified to the lowest taxonomic level and instances of cutmarks, heat exposure, and other surface modifications were noted. Additionally, floatation of Feature samples was used, and the heavy fractions from the northern half of Feature 1 and Feature 5 were analyzed. Analysis of all bone tools was also conducted. In total, 4,514 pieces of bone were analyzed. The 2012 assemblage yielded the most Osteichthian and Bivalvian remains, confirming the idea that Vosburg was a warm season habitation site. Bison was the most common identifiable species at the site, yet most of the bison assemblage consists of bone tools. This further supports the idea that Vosburg was a habitation site and groups were traveling onto the prairie to access bison. Further survey methods in southern Minnesota need to be conducted to possibly locate kill and butchering sites that may have been utilized by the Oneota groups. Overall, the literature surrounding western Oneota is lacking, further research must be conducted throughout southern Minnesota to fill gaps in the knowledge of Oneota. Additionally, the assemblages from previous Vosburg excavations need to be reanalyzed to draw significant conclusions about the inhabitants of the Vosburg Site.


Ronald Schirmer

Committee Member

Kathleen Blue

Committee Member

Kathryn Elliott

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)

Program of Study

Applied Anthropology


Humanities and Social Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright