Archaeology at the Agency

Community archaeological dig

In 2020, we were in hot pursuit of the hottest place on the hillside: the Agency blacksmith shop. Participants rolled up their sleeves and dug with us into our site's buried history. Live blacksmithing demonstrations allowed visitors to explore the history and techniques of blacksmithing as we endeavored to locate the 1830s shop. Our special exhibit allowed visitors to analyze scenarios that come up in the everyday work of those who study the past through scientific excavation and highlighted the work of frontier blacksmiths.

Photos from 2020:

Media coverage

What was unearthed in 2020?

Archaeology kids' camp

Learn hands-on what it takes to be an archaeologist at our virtual camp!

Sponsored by:

Summer speaker series

Talks covered a variety of topics related to archaeology and blacksmithing. The Oshkosh Municipal TV station aired the speaker series and provided the video links for us below.

Co-sponsored by:


Dig sponsored by:

GEC Logo Full w-Name.jpg

Special exhibit sponsored by:

Attorney Doug Kammer

Portage, WI

Why archaeology?

Written records, alone, cannot answer some important questions about how John Kinzie's Indian Agency worked.  Our main inquiry this season is how the Agency blacksmith functioned. A smith was established here in 1830 to serve the Ho-Chunk tribe. Evidence in the ground may reveal some answers.

Dig 2020 videos


Blacksmith history

Learn the basics about frontier blacksmithing, or dig even deeper into a published paper on Indian agency blacksmiths of the American frontier.

Archaeology at the Agency 2020