Dr. Richard Rothaus will lead Bailey Point dig

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Dr. Richard Rothaus will lead a public archaeological dig this month at Bailey Point Nature Preserve in Elk River.

Dr. Richard Rothaus

Dr. Richard Rothaus

The Elk River City Council voted unanimously June 3 to hire Rothaus, of Trefoil Cultural and Environmental in Sauk Rapids, to complete the archaeological survey.

Rothaus is president of Trefoil and a research associate at the Center for Heritage Renewal at North Dakota State University. He has conducted several projects and public excavations for the city of Elk River.

The dig is required as part of a grant the city received to purchase Bailey Point. The dig will cost $25,163, with $11,223 coming from a Minnesota Historical Society grant, $1,000 from the city and $12,940  in in-kind contributions from Trefoil.

Several public archaeological digs have been held in Elk River in recent years, including this one at the Alan Hoebelheinrich farm in 2005.

Several public archaeological digs have been held in Elk River in recent years, including this one at the Alan Hoebelheinrich farm in 2005.

In his proposal to the city, Rothaus wrote that Bailey Point’s location at the intersection of the Elk River and the Mississippi River “is an area of obvious and extremely high archaeological probability.”

The dig will run 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on two weekends, June 14-16 and June 21-23.

The city is seeking volunteers ages 15 and older to participate in the excavation. Spots are available in four-hour blocks from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. To sign up, 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, which is not yet open to the public,  was purchased by the city last year. The site is associated with the 1772 and 1773 battles between the Ojibwe and the Dakota. It also includes the location of the old Sherburne County Fairgrounds.

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