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Chances 'slim' for another excavation

ST. PAUL -- Although there is probably a treasure trove of information to be unearthed at Janet and LeRoy Peterson's bison kill site, the prospects for another archaeological dig any time soon are "slim," according to Scott Anfinson, director of the Minnesota State Historic Preservation office.

Funding for archaeological work is very limited, he explained.

Also, most of the archaeological work in the state is not directed by the curiosity or interests of archaeologists. Most excavations are triggered by the decisions of those who build roads, shopping malls and the like. Laws designed to protect the environment and our cultural heritage dictate that archaeological excavations occur when there is the threat of destroying the archaeological record.

There are only a limited number of archaeologists in the state, and many of them make their livelihoods by working for companies performing these required excavations, Anfinson explained.

He needed only to point to his own office to explain the challenges. The state Office of Historic Preservation could be the smallest state office of all. It consists of Anfinson and an assistant.