Posted 3 months ago
By John Axtell
The Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center northwest of Crawford closes for the season on Monday, but director Dennis Kuhnel is excited to host several Labor Day weekend activities to go out on a high note.
There’s the 25th annual Knap-In, the 1st annual AtlAtl throwing competition sanctioned by the World AtlAtl Association, and a return of the Artifact Roadshow. There will also be paleo-skills demonstrators and re-enactors taking part in the weekend of special programs.
Kuhnel says the founders of the Knap-In…Larry Waldron of Rushville and David Nixon of Crawford…and Hudson-Meng ranger Luke Hittner will be showcasing aspects of ancient Indian life around the country throughout the weekend.
“Knapping” which means to hit, or break stone in order to shape it into a useful tool. Knapped stones and flakes from across the past 10,000 years have been found at Hudson-Meng, and Kuhnel says the flint knappers create similar tools to give an insight to how skilled ancient hunters survived on the Great Plains.
Kuhnel is also excited to have Hudson-Meng to host its 1st annual atlatl throwing competition, sanctioned by the World AtlAtl Association, Saturday at 1:00. The atlatl is a spear-throwing tool…essentially a stick with a notched end that gives the thrower greater leverage for more power and distance.
There will be two categories of competition. Primitive uses a spear or dart made of materials prehistoric people could have used, Open allows any type of dart. Contest results will be reported to the World Atlatl Association and posted on their website: http://waa.basketmakeratlatl.com/
Earlier this summer, Hudson-Meng hosted an Artifact Roadshow…which saw private citizens bring in their own artifacts to be identified and explained by professional archaeologists and artifact identification experts. Kuhnel says the response was so great, he was able to bring the experts back again.
Kuhnel says artifacts can be any item used by past human cultures and events for day-to-day life, such as pottery, arrow heads, spear points, and stone tools. The Artifact Roadshow runs all weekend.
Hudson-Meng, located 19 miles north of Crawford, is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fees are $5 for adults; $4.50 for seniors, $3 for children ages 5 – 12, and age 4 and under is free.
No credit cards are accepted at the center, cash and checks are welcome. Under a special program of the Forest Service, 95% of fees collected at the site are used to develop more recreational and educational opportunities on the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands.