The Koshkonong Creek Village Site (47JE0379)

The Koshkonong Creek Village site, or KCV, is a large Oneota habitation in southeastern Wisconsin. KCV is situated along the Koshkonong Creek, a small tributary of the Rock River drainage that flows directly into Lake Koshkonong, approximately three kilometers to the southeast. The site is atop on a nine-meter bluff overlooking the creek. This location provided immediate access to wetland and aquatic resources along the creek’s length. Away from the creek, oak savannah and arable land surrounded the site. KCV was first described from surface remains by Stout and Skavlem in 1908. The multicomponent site is located on an elevated knoll south of Koshkonong Creek, approximately four kilometers west of Lake Koshkonong.

UW-Milwaukee field school students excavated at the site for three seasons between 2010 and 2014. The 2012 and 2014 excavations focused on the Oneota occupation, near the center of the site. The 2012 excavations uncovered evidence of a dense occupation including numerous large pit features and part of a longhouse (Figure 1). 2014 excavations were located adjacent to the 2012 block and also revealed pits and house walls. A small, volunteer field project was conducted in 2016, uncovering two large pits and what appears to be another house wall. A total of 105 square meters have been excavated to date, revealing 28 pits, 1 hearth, 1 wall trench, and 112 posts composing at least two houses.

So far, we have preliminary data on lithics, ceramics, faunal remains, and human remains from the site. Despite the atypical location of the site (on a creek as opposed to near the lake), the preliminary analyses suggest that the material culture at the site is remarkably like other Oneota sites in the region. There is significant ceramic overlap between KCV and other Koshkonong Locality sites. While KCV is situated in a different microenvironment, faunal signatures (Figure 4) show varied patterns of subsistence choices, demonstrating that environment alone is not sufficient to explain dissimilarities when comparing sites in the Koshkonong Locality. The lithic assemblage analyzed to date shows considerable similarity to the Crescent Bay assemblage (Figure 3), and like Crescent Bay, isolated human remains are found in large refuse pits. House construction appears to be remarkably like the patterns seen at Crescent Bay. While there are only two radiocarbon dates from the site, they align with the dates from Schmeling and Crescent Bay (Figure 2). In fact, the radiocarbon span at KCV is nearly identical to the span at Crescent Bay. While considerable amounts of research are still necessary, at this point, it appears that the only strikingly atypical aspect of KCV is its location. Beyond this, KCV is a typical Oneota village whose occupants produced typical Koshkonong Locality artifacts, treated the dead in a similar manner, and practiced a diversified subsistence strategy.

Koshkonong Creek Village site map

Koshkonong Creek C14 dates

Lithics from the Koshkonong Creek Village site

Bone awls from the Koshkonong Creek Village site