South Dakota 2017 Day 1

Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts about my time helping supervise a first year archaeology fieldschool in Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, South Dakota. I excavated here as a student in 2010, and now three degrees and 7 years later I’m back as a supervisor!

The South Dakota team from 2010! I’m 5th from the right in the front row.

The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is a really interesting archaeological site. The excavations target part of a settlement occupied around 1,100 years ago. The people who lived here were skilled farmers, cultivating corn, beans, squashes, and expert bison hunters. The dig floor is located inside a building called the Archeodome, which allows all-weather excavation. It’s also open to the public, who can traverse the walkways above the dig floor and see archaeology in action! It’s a truly unique site.

Having arrived in the States on Monday, we fought our jet lag today to head to the site for the first time this season. It was really cool to see how the site has changed, and memories of my dig season in 2010 came flooding back – lots of nostalgia for my old square! While the students got the grand tour from the site director, we started to set up the dig floor. We strung up some new squares to be excavated this year, and calibrated the total station. Mostly behind the scenes stuff today – the real digging starts tomorrow!

The dig site today – tomorrow to be filled with students!

Perhaps our most exciting (terrifying) part of today was this evening’s tornado siren and warnings, and watching a massive thunderstorm (thankfully nothing more) roll past our hotel. Hopefully we won’t have too many of those to contend with – that might be taking “all-weather excavation” a little far!!


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