I recently returned from the community of Cross Lake with a great experience I want to share.
We experimented with cooking a meal inside a replica clay pot over a campfire. It wasn’t until we were cooking that we realized that it has probably been over 300 years since a meal was cooked inside a clay pot in northern Manitoba.
The pot was made by Grant Goltz (Minnesota) copying one from Minnesota that is over 900 years old. Grant generously loaned the pot so we could cook a meal.
You may ask “how is this relevant to archaeology?”. Broken pot sherds are often found at ancient camp sites and we have thousands in the collection in The Manitoba Museum. We were doing experimental archaeology, which is basically trying to see how things were done in the past through experimentation.
In this case we cooked up a meal of moose meat and wild rice. Before we began I worried that the pot may break in the campfire, food would stick and the pot would always boil over. To my surprise the pot did not break, none of the food stuck to the pot and when the pot boiled over once we just moved the fire away from the pot and it kept a gentle boil until the food was cooked.
While the pot we experimented with is a copy from one found in Minnesota the same style of pots are found in Manitoba.
In the end thirteen of us enjoyed a wonderful meal cooked the old way. Now when any of us talk about pottery found at an archaeological site we can tell people how well these pots cook a meal.