Integration of a record of Holocene landscape evolution with the cultural record from a multicomponent archaeological site in northern Minnesota has fostered the development of a regional model of human interaction with the changing physical environment. Excavation of 21‐CA‐169 near Nushka Lake revealed two components, an aceramic Archaic zone where processing of large mammals was the major activity and an upper zone with artifacts suggestive of wild rice processing. Seasonal occupation of the lower zone occurred during a period of falling regional lake levels resulting from natural stream network evolution. The upper zone represents human occupation in a physical and biological setting that was quite different than during earlier occupation. Integration of the geomorphic history of the region along with an interpretation of the types of cultural activities occurring on the changing landscape have provided a model to understand land use and to predict the location of other sites. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.