Tagged: archeology

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village Is Active Archeological Site

One of my favorite South Dakota places to visit is the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village just off Interstate 90, and my family and I visited last weekend during its annual Archeology Awareness Days.

This prehistoric Indian village, occupied about 1,000 years ago, is the only ongoing archeology site in South Dakota open to the public. Thanks to the Boehnen Memorial Museum and the Thomsen Center Archeodome, people can visit year-round.

For a month every summer, Augustana University in Sioux Falls and Exeter College in Oxford, England, sponsor a joint field school dig for their students. This is the only time of the year visitors can watch archeologists work at the site.

During each field school month (usually mid-June through mid-July), the museum and field school also hosts Archeology Days for one weekend. During this weekend, a variety of experts on Native American culture have exhibits or do demonstrations, and visitors can get involved by throwing spears with atlatls (a type of lever) or making pottery.

The field school students and archeologists will be continue to work at the site through mid-July.

For more information:

My previous visit

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village

Have you ever attended the annual Archeology Days at the Indian village? Have you visited any archeology site? Is so, where?

Annual Archeology Awareness Days at Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village


Archeodome in Mitchell, SD--photos by Deb Watley

Thomsen Center Archeodome in Mitchell, S.D.–photos by Deb Watley


Last weekend my family and I attended Archeology Awareness Days at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village at Mitchell, S.D.

The archeology site, which is South Dakota’s only one open to the public, was an Indian village 1,000 years ago.

One feature of the special weekend is the variety of experts who do demonstrations of various Native American skills, such as flintknapping, the making of stone knives and arrow or spear points. My sons enjoyed playing traditional Lakota games demonstrated by Mike Marshall of Mission, S.D.

The big draw for me is that the weekend coincides with the archeology field school that is in session each summer. The field school consists of archeologists and students from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and from Exeter College in Oxford, England. The month of the field school is the only time the public can watch archeologists dig at the Indian village.

An unusual thing about the site is that because it is a permanent site, the Thomsen Center Archeodome has been constructed over one small area of the village, allowing temperature control. Not many other field schools take place in air-conditioning! The building also houses a lab and display areas.


Examples of stone knives

Examples of stone knives


Cache pits began as food storage units and eventually became trash receptacles.

Cache pits began as food storage units and eventually became trash receptacles.


The Archeodome sits over an old part of the village where the residents worked outside.

The slight depressions in the foreground are the locations of earthen lodges.


My kids loved throwing the atlatl, a type of spear.

My kids loved throwing the atlatl, a type of spear.


We’ll be back to the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village!

What archeological sites have you been toured?