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Digging up Whiskey Row: An Archaeological Investigation of the Historic Townsite of Agate Bay

Author(s): Tim Tumberg

Year: 2014

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During the summers of 2007-2011, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conducted archaeological investigations at the historic townsite of Agate Bay, located within the present day limits of the City of Two Harbors. Agate Bay was developed in the mid-1880s in conjunction with the opening of the Vermilion Iron Range. During its few short years of existence, Agate Bay acquired a reputation as a rough-and tumble frontier settlement and many historical accounts refer to an especially notorious section known as Whiskey Row. The site provided an appropriate venue for a historical archaeology investigation because much of it was capped by a wooden platform and then by a concrete slab from shortly after abandonment in the late 1880s until October 2006. This poster summarizes the site’s rather atypical formation processes and the artifact assemblage recovered as a result of those processes, and it concludes by demonstrating how historical archaeology was used to present the most complete and accurate possible interpretation of life in a frontier-era settlement on the north shore of Lake Superior.

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Digging up Whiskey Row: An Archaeological Investigation of the Historic Townsite of Agate Bay. Tim Tumberg. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437399)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): POS-98,21

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America