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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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White Potato Lake Garden Beds Site
Town of Brazeau, Oconto County
Dates of use: 1000-1650

The White Potato Lake Garden Beds site is a rare example of an archeological site connected with indigenous horticultural practices in the Upper Midwest. The garden beds that remain are undisturbed and may provide important information on farming practices in pre-contact northeastern Wisconsin. They may also yield genetic material from crop varieties that are no longer available. The critical role that Native Americans, and particularly Native American women, played in the domestication of corn, beans, squash, and other crops is poorly understood. Sites such as this provide information on these practices. Continued advances in the genetic studies of crops and the ongoing recovery and analysis of food residues from habitation sites are revealing how remarkable the domestication process was and the central role people played in adapting crops to new conditions.

In addition to the preservation of part of the Pre-contact landscape, the garden beds provide archeologists and other interested people with an excellent laboratory to examine theories of farming and cultural identity. Excavation of part of the garden beds (with subsequent reconstruction) would allow us to determine the date of construction and the length of time that the garden beds were in use. Soil and pollen samples from the site could provide information on the crops grown. Artifacts recovered during the work would help identify the culture responsible for the construction and maintenance of the garden beds, highlight issues surrounding the adoption of maize horticulture in northeastern Wisconsin, and perhaps reveal why these ridged fields were constructed.

The exact location of the site is restricted.


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