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Turtle shell Prehistoric people of the Upper Mississippi Valley used turtles for their meat and also for their shells. This turtle shell was made into a platter. The vertebrae (the line running across the middle) were ground down to smooth the interior. Archaeological sites in the region have produced bones and shell fragments from snapping turtles, softshell turtles, painted turtles, map turtles, false map turtles, wood turtles, Blanding’s turtles, and ornate box turtles.  (Oneota, La Crosse County)