Our Ten Mile Lake Native American Heritage

By Clark Pasley, History Committee

Have you ever wondered whether Indians lived on Ten Mile Lake centuries ago, perhaps even near your home?

About 100 feet behind our cabin on Ten Mile’s south shore, the land surface rises sharply 8-10 feet to an ancient shore line and then levels off. 15 years or so ago, I dug up an Indian pottery shard while planting a pine tree on this ridge.

Archaeology is a hobby of mine, and I knew from the markings on the shard that it was roughly 2000 years old. The markings, called cording, are diagnostic of an Indian culture known as “middle woodland”. The woodland periods are thought to represent a transition from hunter/gatherers to peoples living in more permanent settlements. These Indians made pottery, built mounds, and developed the bow and arrow.

While perhaps not as exciting a find as an arrowhead, pottery shards are often preferred by archaeologists, in part because they usually indicate the location of a village. So, finding that shard near our cabin was a thrill for me.

Since that time, my family and I have happily spent hours prospecting for Indian artifacts around our cabin. We have even dug pits and sifted the soil through a screen. [Yes, the neighbors think us strange.] To date, we have found a total of 11 pieces of pottery, a grooved maul, a [possible] chopper/scraper, and an adz.

I would gladly share our findings with those interested and be very happy to learn what artifacts or evidence of Native Americans others have found around our beautiful lake.

Back Up Next

Copyright © 2001-2016 Ten Mile Lake Association. All rights reserved.
Revised: June 30, 2016.

This site was created and is maintained by G. Cox.
Please send any feedback or content to

Ten Mile Lake Association, Inc. P.O. Box 412, Hackensack, MN 56452