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6.7.11

The COPPER TRAIL

Evidence indicates that the oldest copper tools may have been made in Wisconsin 7500 years ago.  This date is about 2,000 years before the Pharaohs in Egypt had copper.
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Recent understanding of the creation of copper is that it comes from Super Novas.
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So the copper for the tools in Wisconsin may have arrived during the Big Event.  This was hot, pure copper from outer space that plunged through two miles of ice to create Lake Superior.  Ice, copper, and earth exploded upward and fell back to rest.  Some of the copper came to rest on top of the earth.  Millenniums later the Wisconsin people picked up that copper, heated it, and formed tools or trinkets.
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About 4,200 years ago sailors from Europe sailed to North America.  Then the copper trade to the Mediterranean began and continued at a high sustained rate for about 1,000 years. [A PowerPoint presentation is a available.]  This span of time has been called the "Bronze Age."  The primary use for bronze in Asia Minor and Europe was for war.  Enough copper was carried away from Lake Superior to equip three hundred armies of ten thousand  men each.
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During that time the ship captains involved in the copper trade explored every possible route into and out of Lake Superio.  One of the most strategic routes was via the  Viking Waterway.
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Viking Waterway.  The north route to the copper fields around Lake Superior
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Ships that arrived via Hudson Bay unloaded crew-rowed long boats.   A crew of about 15 men rowed each boat.  They rowed, or poled, the boats up the Nelson River, rowed through Lake Winnipeg, and then rowed, poled, and pulled the boats up the Red River.  North of the present city of Moorhead, MN the crews, who walked on the prairies without trees, pulled their long boats about forty two miles up the Buffalo River.  They gained 350 feet in elevation to a cluster of lakes lying on the Horst north of the north-south continental divide.  
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Stakke Lake at 1364 feet elevation was the highest lake at the north end of the Viking Waterway.  There is a seven mile potrage required to carry cargo from Stinking Lake, which is the last water that could float boats on the east edge of the Red River Valley, to Stakke Lake.  The copper haulers developed three shorter portages to lift boats from Stinking Lake to Duck Lake to Boyer Lake to Stakke Lake.

From Stakke Lake the boat crews were able to row downstream to the Mississippi above Minneapolis with the exception of a four mile portage and an eight mile pull upstream to Alex Harbor South. At Minneapolis they loaded up with copper that had been floated down to Minneapolis [Small place to sit or lie] from Lake Superior.  Then they floated rowed downstream to over winter in Yucatan.
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The purple line, in the photo above, traces the route through the Minnesota rivers and lakes from the beginning at the Red River-Buffalo River junction until the connection to the Mississippi River.
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Hjalmar Holand solved the riddle of the Viking waterway by 1928.  No authority has substantially changed Holand's conclusions for nearly a century.  But the copper trail, the Minnesota waterway, and the Kensignton Rune Stone are not described in history books.
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Even the museum displaying the Kensington Rune Stone describes it as a "mystery."  The only mystery is why this information carved in stone and visible in the earth is not covered in all history classes. 





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