Video: Historian visits prehistoric St. Croix site

The sandstone overhang was used centuries ago by native people for shelter, proven by artifacts and rock art that are now gone.




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Greg Brick, the spring hunter and geologist recently profiled in a St. Croix 360 video, has shared a video documenting his search for a historic site on the lower St. Croix River.

Brick took advantage of good ice in January to hike on the river, looking for a place called the “Harvey Rock Shelter.” The overhang at the base of a bluff was identified decades ago as a site used by Native people.

Dr. Albert Jenks of the University of Minnesota first excavated the site in 1933, using intrusive processes no longer in use. It was located on property owned by the Harvey family, as Brick explains in the video.

At the time, the sandstone walls were covered in petroglyphs, images carved into rock. Brick explains that archaeologists found Hopewell-aged pottery, indicating it may have been occupied as early as the third century.

Archaeologists also found copper implements crafted by Native Americans, bone fish hooks, and French trade goods, such as the remnants of a clay pipe.

It 1933, the site became well-known after a front-page article in the St. Paul Daily News. A photo showed Helen Harvey she’s standing next to a medicine wheel petroglyph.

Brick explains that he searched the sandstone carefully, but found no evidence of prehistoric art. Natural weathering and extensive modern graffiti at the site has obliterated what was once there.


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4 responses to “Video: Historian visits prehistoric St. Croix site”

  1. Ken Martens Avatar
    Ken Martens

    The recent floods of 1926, 1951, 1952,1965 and 1969 had much to do with the erosion of the native wall art.
    Some of the early wall art was dynamited during the boomsite era. Folks attempted to repaint the red, yellow and blue which I saw in 1960 but it too is gone now.

  2. Josh Leonard Avatar
    Josh Leonard

    Wow! This site is so close to Stillwater. That is so exciting! Thank you for sharing this. It will be wonderful to share with my two boys and imagine what life was like long ago here. I’m surprised there isn’t a sign or something designating the importance of the site.

  3. mlm Avatar

    there may still be some in recesses – under moss or lichen

  4. garryfay Avatar

    I’d like to know where that photo is and if there are descriptions of what the different inscriptions mean? Thanks!


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Video: Historian visits prehistoric St. Croix site