University of Nebraska Field School Wrapping Up at Hudson Meng

Release Date: Jul 1, 2013  

Dr. Douglass stone artifact

Crawford, NE: A University of Nebraska Anthropology field school is wrapping up a month long class at the Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center north of Crawford. The group of nine students, led by Matt Douglass, PhD Research Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nebraska, successfully excavated, analyzed and completed GPS maps of significant findings, including several projectile points. Douglass said the students will continue to work on materials and write reports in his Fall 2013 follow-up class at the University.

According to Douglass, one of the most exciting finds was an archaic projectile point that is at least 7,000 years old, as well as several pithearths in a creek drainage area. A pithearth is a dome-shaped feature that is buried in the ground for fire, and was historically used to cook meats and plant foods. Douglass plans to have several stones from the pithearths tested for lipids to better understand what types of foods were consumed.

Dr. Douglass’ major research interests include stone artifact analysis, human ecodynamics, hunter-gathers of the North American Great Plains and experimental archaeology. This is the third year he’s led a field school at Hudson Meng and said he plans to return with another class next year. 

Douglass said, “I enjoy bringing students to Hudson Meng because of the wealth of archaeological resources, the great facilities, and the friendly Forest Service staff. We completed a significant amount of survey work this year. Following the recent fires artifact visibility is really fantastic, so the students in this field school were able to enjoy a rich experience.” 

Hudson-Meng is open seven days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through Labor Day weekend. Fees are $5 for adults; $4.50 for seniors, $3 for children ages 5 – 12, and age 4 and under is free. No credit cards are accepted at the center, cash and checks are welcome. Under a special program of the Forest Service, 95% of fees collected at the site are used to develop more recreational and educational opportunities on the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands. For more information about volunteer opportunities, visit, or call Dennis Kuhnel at 308-665-3900.

Photo caption: Dr. Douglass shows a stone artifact used by American Indians.