At anniversary of end of US-Dakota War, artifacts go on displayby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
The US-Dakota War ended 150 years ago Sunday at the Battle of Wood Lake.
Over the years collectors have combed the battlefield for artifacts, and they displayed their finds on Sunday at the Gopher State Archaeological Society's annual Fall Artifact Show in Lakeville.
Among them was Larry Levin of Spicer, Minn., who has one of the largest collections of artifacts from the Wood Lake battle. Levin spent years working in a warehouse by day and combing farmland with a metal detector in his free time. He found 54 artifacts on the Wood Lake battlefield, including cannonballs, grapeshot and a knife blade.
Levin, who was among a few dozen collectors who showed their discoveries at the Lakeville event, says many artifacts from the war were collected by amateurs.
"Professionals don't want anybody to pick anything up," Levin said. "And the government don't want you to have anything. But the amateur people -- like you can see in this room -- everything here is up, open and on the table. You go to a museum and you don't see nothing. Everything is down in the basement. And to me, there's no comparison."
Levin added that the items he found "were all buried in the ground anywhere from an inch to a foot deep. And these were all in the plow zone. So my detector only went down like 8-9 inches. So anything below that is still there."
Many areas where Levin found artifacts are now being preserved.
After the Battle of Wood Lake, the federal government interned Dakota survivors at Fort Snelling, and 38 were executed.