Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend

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Michael G. Michlovic and George R. Holley, Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend. 2022.

This volume presents the results of several decades of archaeological research in the Sheyenne Bend region of southeastern North Dakota. Piecing together evidence from disparate field projects, along with the work done by previous researchers, Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend offers a status report on the pre-European era cultures of southeastern North Dakota. Presented in ordinary language, this book constitutes the essential details to make sense of the regional archaeological record.

Michael Michlovic is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Minne- sota State University Moorhead. He is a former editor of the Minne- sota Archaeologist and past president of the Council of Minnesota Archaeology.

George R. Holley is currently Emeritus Professor, Minnesota State University Moorhead. He is presently working on a Handbook for Minnesota Precontact Ceramics.


Mike Michlovic and George Holly, two of the most respected archaeologists of the North American plains, have synthesized and shared with us the results of over 35 years of work along the Sheyenne River Valley in North Dakota. No one will doubt again that a comprehensive and deep regional archaeology can be derived from the sometimes sporadic work of archaeology driven by the winds of opportunity, land-owners and cultural resources management.  The Sheyenne River Valley, while lovely to those of us who love the northern lands, is not an obvious spot to concentrate archaeological fieldwork, and this is what makes the concentrated long-term attention of Michlovic and Holly so valuable.  Anyone can maintain focus on easily found monumental ruins or cultures that produce a hyperabundance of durable and easily found artifacts in nice warm locations.  In Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend, we find a greater treasure in the knowledge that can be derived from the patient, respectful and thoughtful long-term consideration of one landscape as it has been occupied by successive peoples who lived lightly on the land, but not as lightly as you might suspect. Unless your eyes have been trained by this esteemed duo, you will have missed all this.  Their study takes the reader from the earliest peoples up to more recent Native American inhabitants of the Sheyenne River Valley, tracing linkages in the landscape and material culture, providing one of the most comprehensive microregional archaeologies and histories available.

Richard Rothaus, Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Central Michigan University


Canonical scholarship relating to North Dakota’s archaeological record is vast and daunting. However, taken in smaller portions it can be deeply interesting and quickly absorbed. Michael G. Michlovic and George R. Holley, Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend, is an excellent example of academic literature accessible to both the professional and lay person alike. Narrowly focused on the southeast corner of North Dakota, authors Michlovic and Holley distill decades of archaeological research and field work. The resulting book is geographically focused and highly readable summary of the archaeological research into 12,000 years of North Dakota history.

Bill Peterson, Director, State Historical Society of North Dakota