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Fur trading artifacts uncovered in Wadena County

by Trinity Gruenberg

    The Wadena County Historical Society unveiled artifacts recovered from archaeological digs around Wadena County. They held a round table discussion on September 21.

    In the early 1970s, Archaeologist Doug Birk identified several different properties in Wadena County that he believed were the sites of 18th century fur trading posts.

    Along the banks of the Crow Wing River in Old Wadena, three sites within the park held information about the history of early settlement and exploration in central Minnesota. Two late 1700s European forts belonging to Jean Baptiste Cadotte and another dubbed the “Blacksmith,” were uncovered.

    In 1992, the Institute for Minnesota Archaeology did a survey and assessment of the Blacksmith/Little Round Hill site. This was the first intensive excavation of an archaeological site in Wadena County. 

    The University of Minnesota first came to the county in 2009 and conducted field school with the university’s students for a few weeks. First, at Old Wadena, Little Round Hill area then on to Cadotte’s Trading Post, across from the Crow Wing River in Old Wadena Park, half mile south of the mouth of the Leaf River. The university also spent three years at Joseph Réaume’s Trading Post.

    Réaume and Cadotte came to Minnesota together in 1791....

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