Post holes, walls, and an Ojibwe medicine lodge

Early 20th C medicine lodge (People of the Lakes, page 117)

Early 20th C medicine lodge (People of the Lakes, page 117)

I was reading People of the Lakes by Time-Life about the Ojibwa and I saw this amazing photo of people using a medicine lodge from the early 20th century.  What struck me about this photo was the fact that the lodge is completely uncovered.

I’m not even sure what else to say.  The archaeologist in me is rather stunned.

How would we ever have been able to identify this cornerstone feature of this space archaeologically?  When you find postholes arranged around a space, you assume that they were there to support walls.  The fact that there were no walls in this case just rocks to the core all of the assumptions we make concerning the role of posts.

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