Investigating the Blue Earth Village Site


Donna RoperSunday, February 10, 2 pm

The Kansas Historical Society announced that Kaw Mission State Historic Site will present Investigating the Blue Earth Village Site, by Dr. Donna C. Roper, a research associate professor at Kansas State University. The presentation will be given immediately following a brief annual general membership meeting of Friends of Kaw Heritage, Inc., at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 10, 2013 at Kaw Mission, 500 N Mission Street, Council Grove. The presentation is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $3 per person.

Dr. Roper will present an update on investigations and research on this famous Kaw Indian site. Work prior to 2012 suggested that the Blue Earth site along the Kansas River in southwest Pottawatomie County is better preserved than was thought. In 2012 limited field investigations were initiated to assess actual preservation status. Although parts of the site almost certainly are irretrievably damaged, the fieldwork gives hope that some parts of the village do retain some integrity and hold some information potential. Beyond the on-the-ground investigations of this site, some attention is being given to placing the site in the context of its time and place. The inter-ethnic relations between the Kaw and the whites as well as between the Kaw and the Pawnee that were being played out in the very dynamic period of the late eighteenth/early nineteenth centuries is also being considered. However, several recent construction projects with potential impact to Kaw sites have prompted new investigations. Archeologists have begun to assess the remaining potential of some of the important village sites, in order to gain a better understanding of the current status of these sites as well as to provide the basis for planning further investigations.

Donna C. Roper received her Ph.D. in Anthropology, with specialty in North American archaeology, from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1975. She is a Research Associate Professor at Kansas State University and also does some independent consulting in archaeology. Her main area of emphasis is the late prehistoric and historic native peoples of the Central Plains. Her work with this has included excavations on late prehistoric sites in several areas and intensive analysis of curated collections, with particular emphasis on analysis of pottery and the insights it can provide into many significant questions about past lifeways and social organization. She has also worked with proto-historic Wichita sites in central Kansas, at several proto-historic/historic Pawnee sites in both Kansas and Nebraska, and recently, in connection with planned construction projects, with some Kaw sites. She is the author of many articles on these topics in professional journals. Two recent books of particular interest are her comprehensive study of the Indian Burial Pit at Salina, The Whiteford Site, or Indian Burial Pit: A Smoky Hill Phase Cemetery in Saline County, and, as co-editor, Plains Earthlodges: Ethnographic and Archaeological Perspectives.

This event is co-sponsored by the Kansas Historical Society and the Friends of Kaw Heritage, Inc. Connect with us!

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