Kids’ Archaeology Camp a Success

Preserve South Dakota recently participated in the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office’s first archaeology camp geared towards fourth- and fifth-grade students.  Twenty children attended the camp, which was held at the site of old Fort Galpin near modern-day Fort Pierre.  During the camp, the kids spent three days excavating the site and found such artifacts as beads, glass, nails, bone fragments, and shell casings.  They learned how to dig properly, how to screen the dirt to look for artifacts, and how to record their finds.  Their work was the first on the site; event organizers hoped to have additional archaeologists on site after the camp to continue the dig.

Archaeology Camp 2013. The kids show off one of the pits excavated during camp.

Archaeology Camp 2013. The kids show off one of the pits excavated during camp.

When the kids weren’t busy digging, they had a full schedule which included visits to Fort Pierre Chouteau and the turtle effigy north of Pierre and a lecture on native plants.  They were also able to try their hands at making pottery and flint knapping, or making tools from stone.   Preserve South Dakota was excited to participate in this event because kids love to learn about history by tackling hands-on projects.  This archaeology camp was a great way to introduce kids not just to the history of Fort Galpin and the Missouri River’s importance to this area, but also to show kids how we can learn from the past through archaeology.  Our hats are off to these “junior archaeologists” and the team at the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office for a job well done!

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