The Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has moved. Visit the new SHPO website.

Find Out More About Archaeology in Minnesota

The practice of archaeology has changed greatly in Minnesota over the last several decades. What was once largely a scientific endeavor based at universities and museums now concerns primarily the business of environmental impact assessment, based at public agencies and private consulting firms. As a result, most of the archaeological literature produced in the last 25 years has taken the form of project reports.

Resources for the General Public

From the Minnesota Historical Society Press:
Prehistoric Peoples of Minnesota by Elden Johnson.
A good introduction to Minnesota archaeology.
Southwestern Minnesota Archaeology by Scott Anfinson.
A detailed archaeological overview of one Minnesota region.

From the Minnesota Archaeological Society:
The Minnesota Archaeologist.
A journal available in libraries or online.

Organizations and Agencies

  • Minnesota Historical Society Archaeology Department
    This department, based at Historic Fort Snelling, runs survey programs for various DNR Divisions. There is also an archaeologist in the State Historic Preservation Office, now at the Minnesota Department of Administration.
  • Office of the State Archaeologist
    Part of the Minnesota Department of Administration, this office oversees compliance with archaeology-related state laws. Among its responsibilities: authentication of unplatted burial sites.
  • Minnesota Archaeological Society
    An organization for avocational archaeologists founded 70 years ago.
  • Federal and state agencies
    Several agencies have professional archaeologists who are available for consultation. The USDA Forest Service offers Passport in Time, a volunteer archaeology program that provides opportunities for doing archaeological fieldwork in Minnesota's Chippewa and Superior National Forests.
  • Universities
    There are archaeologists on staff in the Departments of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Moorhead State University, St. Cloud State University and Hamline University. These institutions offer occasional summer field schools for students at archaeological sites.
  • Professional organizations
    The principal organizations that publish journals and sponsor annual conferences on Midwest archaeology are the Society for American Archaeology, the Plains Anthropological Society and the Midwest Archaeological Society.