by Joni Astrup
A public archaeological dig will be held in June at Bailey Point Nature Preserve in Elk River.
The city has received an $11,223 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to conduct the dig, which will be led by a professional archaeologist. It will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. June 14-16 and June 21-23.
The Elk River Heritage Preservation Commission invites the public to be part of the dig. The city is seeking volunteers age 15 and older to participate in the excavation of a Native American site (potentially a prehistoric village). Spots are available in four-hour blocks from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., according to Elk River Environmental Administrator Rebecca Haug. To sign up to dig, call 763-635-1068.
Observers of all ages are welcome to tour the site each day at 3 p.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Bailey Point is located along the Mississippi and Elk rivers, just west of downtown.
The city purchased the site in November. The purchase was funded in part by a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources grant. As part of that grant agreement, the city is required to conduct an archaeological survey, Haug said.
This is the fifth archaeological dig that has been done in Elk River in recent years. In 2004, a dig was done at the Houlton farm. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, public participation digs were conducted at the Alan Hoebelheinrich farm, Haug said.