Archive for Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Area dig sites named to national register

March 9, 2005

Two archaeological dig sites along Stranger Creek in Leavenworth County have been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

And that delights a Kansas State University anthropologist who's been enthralled with the Stranger Creek valley ever since he was a doctoral student 25 years ago.

"The designation protects the sites in the event of some sort of federally funded undertaking," said Brad Logan, the KSU professor. "However unlikely that might appear at this time, given all of the growth around Tonganoxie, who knows?"

At the two sites northeast of Tonganoxie, Logan and college students under his tutelage have toiled during recent summers.

They've uncovered a late prehistoric house, called the "Scott House," after Tonganoxie area resident Scott DeMaranville who discovered numerous artifacts after a flood in 2001 scoured the area. That house belonged to people of the Steed-Kisker culture who lived in this area from 800 to 1,000 years ago, according to Logan.

In 2002, Logan returned to the site and found another storage pit. During the summer of 2003, Logan and his students focused their work on land adjacent to the Scott House, in an area that had been washed over by rushing flood waters.

Logan underscored that inclusion of the two sites on the national register will have little effect on the property owner, John Evans of Lebo.

"It does not deprive them to undertake anything privately on that land," Logan said.

What is does do is require that if a project that is funded in any way by the federal government is undertaken, that funds must be set aside to mitigate any adverse impact from the project -- or find a way so the project has no impact on the sites. If that's impossible, funds will be set aside to gather information about the sites before any project.

The designation is important, Logan said.

"It's a measure of how significant the sites are in terms of their research potential," he said. "It underscores how important they are to archaeologists in our attempt to understand what's going on in northeast Kansas."

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