Changing Landscapes

Posted by Ed Fleming on Monday, July 12, 2010

Archaeologists all over the world are confronted with the problem of changing landscapes.  We can never take for granted that the landscape we are working in is the same as when a site was inhabited hundreds or thousands of years ago.  The landscape of the Spring Lake area has changed in a particularly dramatic fashion, primarily because of the installation of the Hastings Dam in the 1930s.  Acquisition of land by Dakota County Parks has also altered the vegetation.  However, in this case, the naturalists of Dakota County Parks have been working to bring the vegetation of Spring Lake Park Reserve back to its original, pre-settlement (by Euro-Americans), forested state.

Archaeologists regularly consult historic maps, early survey notes, aerial photographs, and other historic sources to try to understand what the landscape of the site under study was like during the periods of occupation.