Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

John D. Richards

Committee Members

Dawn Scher Thomae, Jason Sherman


20ME01, Ceramics, Menominee, Michigan, Riverside, X-ray Fluorescence


This thesis provides an analysis of the ceramic sherds recovered from the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) and the Oshkosh Public Museum’s (OPM) 1961-1963 excavations at the Riverside site (20ME01) in Menominee, Michigan. The Riverside site is most well known as a Late Archaic/ Early Woodland Old Copper/Red Ocher burial site. This analysis focuses on using the ceramic assemblage to refine the Riverside site’s cultural chronology and relationship to the Riverside II site (20ME40). More than 1,300 sherds were collected from the site between 1961 and 1963 and they have been permanently housed at the MPM for the past 60 years. Ninety-one rim sherds representing 71 vessels were examined. The analysis consists of a review of available documentation, description and characterization of the sherds including metric and morphological analysis and a chemical composition study using a portable X-Ray fluorescence analyzer, along with a comparison of local clay sources and Riverside sherds, and ceramic comparison of the Riverside and Riverside II sites. The results of this study show that the occupation of the Riverside site continued beyond the Late Archaic/Early Woodland period burial and spans through the Oneota period. Overall assemblage composition is similar to that of the adjacent Riverside II site and mirrors the Riverside II ceramic diversity reported in earlier studies. This suggests that the two sites represent a series of closely related occupations coalescing in one area that extending from the Late Archaic through the Oneota period.