Prehistoric Minnesota Woman

As construction workers were excavating a roadway along the eastern shore of Prairie Lake near Pelican Rapids in 1931, they uncovered one of the most exciting prehistoric finds in this region of North America—a human skeleton. The remains were found nine feet below the surface and encased in fine layers of clay which had once been the bottom of a lake that predated glacial Lake Agassiz. The state archaeologist was called in to exhume the bones and look for additional artifacts that would help identify and date the remains. At the time, the bones were determined to be those of a 15-year-old boy who died close to 20,000 years before. An unusual conch and elk antler knife were also found near the skeleton. For many scientists, the remains and artifacts were proof that prehistoric people inhabited this part of North America.

Soon after the completion of the roadway, a plaque was placed at the site where the remains were found. It said: “The remains of the Minnesota Man of the Pleistocene Age were found in this road cut on June 16, 1931.” In 1959, a wayside rest was established near the site, and a new marker was placed there by the Minnesota Historical Society.

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