Trempealeau Wisconsin Archaeology Field Trip - 13,000 Years of Cultural History on the Upper Mississippi River.

  • August 03, 2017
  • Trempealeau, WI
  • 1


  • NOTE: Member ($86) with guest ($101) will cost a total of $187. TO ADD YOUR GUEST: click on the "ADD GUEST" button at the bottom of the registration form and enter the guest information, as indicated. Thank you.

Estimated Trip Duration Times:
Oakwood West: 6:30 AM- 6:30 PM PM
Capitol Lakes: 6:50 AM:45 AM-6:15 PM
East Towne Sears: 7:10 AM-6:00 PM

Picnic Lunch. Pack your own Picnic Lunch to enjoy in the Perrot State Park Shelter.

$101: Guest Registration Fee

NOTE: Members register their guests

Registration Limit: 32
Registration Deadline: July 30

Registration is closed

Join us on Thursday, August 3rd to visit three historic sites in Trempealeau Wisconsin.  The Trempealeau Interpretive Path (TRIP) ( traces the cultural history of this area back more than 10,000 years.  Our guides will be archaeologists Danielle Benden and Ernie Boszhardt.

First, we will visit the new Trempealeau Memorial Library to examine artifacts from the prehistoric Mississippian settlement, to learn how people lived here in past millennia and to review the archaeological excavations that have taken place across the village. 

Next, our walk up Little Bluff Mounds Trail reveals the story of how mounds were built.  It follows the temples and fire hearths of this outpost of Cahokia a permanent settlement dating back 1000 years and leads us to a wonderful view of the village, the Mississippi River, and  lock and dam #6. 


Next our bus will take us a short distance to Perrot State Park where we will have our picnic lunches at the park shelter located on the shores of the Mississippi followed by a visit to the indoor Nature Center, housing the interpretive path’s largest exhibit.  Ernie and Danielle will interpret regional geology, plants and animals, and explain how these influenced the very early and then later settlers to Trempealeau.  

The 13,000 year human history is seen here in exhibits, illustrations, a 3-dimensional map and reproductions and original prehistoric artwork.  And our guides will demonstrate flintknapping which is the skill of making prehistoric tools and weapons.   If time allows, we will briefly stop in the village of Trempealeau before returning to Madison.

Trail Accessibility. The Trempealeau Library and Perrot State Park nature center are accessible.  The walk to the top of Little Bluff is easy to moderate 10 minute, guides can give rides to the top if needed.  Walking across the top of Little Bluff and to the picnic shelter is flat but uneven turf.   

Our Guides. Danielle Benden and Robert “Ernie” Boszhardt, co-directors of a long-term archaeology project in Trempealeau, Wisconsin have for over ten years excavated, cataloged, and researched the unique 1,000-year-old early Middle Mississippian outpost at Trempealeau. 

Today, they continue this discovery through public archaeology and outreach, especially through the Trempealeau Interpretive Path (TRIP).  They have collaborated on a variety of other archaeological projects in the Driftless Area and offer tours to archaeological sites throughout Wisconsin.

Through Driftless Pathways, a small, family-owned, business founded by Danielle and Ernie in 2016, they share their expertise in Wisconsin archaeology and museum curation by offering unique archaeological site tours, curation training and professional development, and museum consulting services.

Before opening Driftless Pathways, Danielle served as a museum director and held the position of curator in the anthropology collections at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for ten years. She has chaired national curation committees and is the current chair of the Society for American Archaeology’s Committee on Museums, Collections, and Curation.  

Ms. Benden hosts regional seminars and national webinars for audiences ranging from local, volunteer-run museums to professionals looking to gain new practical skills in an ever-changing field. She has directed archaeological field projects, designed and overseen upgrades to curation facilities, and enhancements of museum collections and published her work in national and regional outlets.

Ernie has practiced archaeology in the Driftless Area for decades, including nearly 30 years with the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center and, since 2010, as an independent researcher. He has published numerous articles and several books that touch upon nearly every aspect of archaeology in the region. He regularly speaks at local civic organizations and leads site tours.


Bear in mind that our boarding bus route is like Madison Metro or any other municipal bus service. Please arrive early at your boarding stop so you don’t miss the bus. When everyone is aboard and seated, we leave.

– Don’t be late. We can wait just 5 minutes at any one location.

– Pack water bottles and snacks for sustenance on the journey.

6:30 AM Oakwood Village Begin Boarding 

6:50 AM Capitol Lakes

7:10 AM East Towne Sears

7:30 AM Depart for Trempealeau

10:30 AM Trempealeau Memorial Library

11:30 AM Walk Little Bluff Trail

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Picnic Lunch at Perrot State Park Shelter

1:30 PM Perrot State Park Nature Center

3:30 PM Depart for Madison

6:00 PM East Towne Sears

6:15 PM Capitol Lakes

6:30 PM Oakwood Village

Accessibility Policy.On the Badger Bus, you must be able to climb steps to board and exit the bus. If you need assistance, we recommend that you bring a friend to give you a hand.

Guest Policy Members must register their guests. Each PLATO member is entitled to bring one non-member guest per bus trip. (Members may bring more than one guest near the registration Deadline Date if seats are available. 

Check with the trip organizer.) Non-member guests pay an additional $15.00 registration fee. PLATO Membership is $60.00/year.          

Housekeeping Information

Picnic Lunch. Please note you should bring your own picnic lunch and drink as well as snacks for the bus trip.

Accessibility. The walk up Little Bluff is easy to moderate on an improved trail and takes about 10 minutes.  Our guides will provide a lift for those requesting a ride up the trail (if you wish a ride, please tell trip leader by July 20). 

Trip Cooler. I hope to bring a larger cooler or two in which you can keep those portions of your lunch that require chilling; and you might also bring a small insulated lunch bag with icepack and include snacks and drinks for yourself for the trips up and back.  It is a long day and it can be warm in August.  

Footwear. Wear comfortable shoes for walking and standing.  Please dress for the weather, per the forecast for La Crosse WI on August 3.  We are near the Mississippi River and it is summer, so you might bring insect repellent and sun block.  

Restrooms. On the bus, at the library, in the Village Community Center, outhouses in Central Park in the village, at the Trempealeau Hotel, at Perrot State Park (vault toilets) near the shelter and Nature Center. So, we will never be anywhere that is less than a few hundred feet from a toilet.


Background Information

The Little Bluff Interpretive Path is shown at:

The Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center has the best website for and overview of the archaeology of the Upper Mississippi Valley:  Here, you can click on each cultural tradition to learn the basics for each period of time. Highly recommend this one.

Some websites you might wish to visit before our trip are:

Perrot SP:;

Trempealeau County and Village:,_Wisconsin , ,;

Trempealeau Hotel;

Lock & Dam Number 6:

Chahokia - or

Trempealeau Archaeology Field Trip Mail-In Registration Form (including instructions):

PLATO Members Form

For further information, contact Trempealeau Archaeology trip organizer, Mike Roy, and 608-443-9563







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