Lockport Site

The Lockport site is located just below a series of rapids, on the east bank of the Red River and was used as a fishing location for thousands of years. Plant food played a significant role for the Native inhabitants, who adopted a limited form of horticulture to supplement their foraging. Significant remains from the site indicate domesticated maize kernels, bison bone scapula hoes used for cultivation and grinding stones for milling plant seeds. The inhabitants also constructed underground pits to store their harvest throughout the year. The pottery styles suggest links to the farming villages of the Dakotas and Minnesota (Manitoba 1985). The tentative beginnings of gardening or tending of plants is also may be indicated by the archaeological remains in the southwestern corner of Manitoba which show ties to horticulturalists to the south (Nicholson 1990).

Drawing of Decorated Pot from Lockport
Showing Affinities with the Dakotas

Cultivating Corn with a Bison Scapula Hoe

The extent of the ties that the Lockport site had with the farmers from the Dakotas and Minnesota is not fully understood. Cultivating and storing crops has dramatic implications for settlement patterns. The assurance of regular annual food supplies within a single location, would mean that the group would not have to move to find additional resources. At Lockport, the combination of fish and plant foods could have sustained a group of people in a single permanent location for many years. It is estimated that horticulture was practiced here until A.D. 1500 when the climate became colder. Because of the extensive agricultural activities that have occurred in the past 150 years along the Red River at Lockport, and the lack of consistent archaeological research, it is difficult to state with any surety the size of the settlements. If the native ceramic sherds which continue to erode out of the river banks is any indication of size, the villages may have been quite large.

© 1998 Manitoba Archaeological Society
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