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University of Minnesota to conduct field study at Old Wadena

WADENA - The University of Minnesota department of anthropology plans to establish an archeological field study in Old Wadena County Park this June, according to Richard Paper of the Wadena County Historical Society.

"I think it's a great opportunity for our county because we do have historical sites predating 1800," Paper said.

The field study would involve 10 to 15 students, Paper said. As long as the department gets the funding they would like to go ahead with it. This would be the only program the University has in outstate Minnesota, he said.

Paper informed the county board of the plan and obtained permission to use the county park. He explained some of the benefits to the area.

Educational programs for kids can be held in connection with the archeological digs during the summer, he said.

If the University likes coming up here and the program is successful there are a lot of county sites they could utilize, Paper said. The students could come year after year spending nearly a month on site, he said.

"We also have the opportunity to legitimize these places and to get a fairly good idea of what is going on through the ages and sites along the Crow Wing," Paper said.

It will be good for tourism and, basically, won't cost the county anything, he said.

"They're going to do the program, we're just providing the venue," Paper said.

The field study will involve meter digs. Experienced archeologists will come in ahead of the students, he said. They will explore the area for the most likely places. Sampling will begin in May and the students will arrive in June to work on the sites.

"That's their ... on-the-job learning," Paper said.