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Annual archeology school begins at Prehistoric Indian Village

Students from Augustana University and the University of Exeter in England examine the Thomsen Center Archeodome site Tuesday at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village. Wednesday was the first day of the four-week, 15th annual archaeology field school at the 1,000-year-old site. The public will have a chance to meet the students and check out the latest discoveries June 30 and July 1 at the annual Archaeology Awareness Days event at the Village. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Students from the University of Exeter, England, and Augustana University in Sioux Falls arrived at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village on Wednesday to participate in the Village's 15th annual archaeology field school.

The four-week field school became a permanent feature of the Village starting in 2003. The excavations are carried out inside the Thomsen Center Archeodome, a climate-controlled building that was placed over a small portion of the Village in 1999.

"We are so excited to once again welcome the students to the annual Archaeology Field School and we look forward to their discoveries," says Cindy Gregg, the executive director of the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village.

Past discoveries within the Archeodome have helped archaeologists and historians to better understand how early Plains residents lived. In addition to bone, pottery and tools, hundreds of 1000-year-old small, charred corn and sunflower seeds have been found, as well as a nearly intact bison skeleton, highly unusual discoveries that have brought worldwide attention to the Village and its student archaeologists.

The public will have an opportunity to meet the students and archaeologists during Archeology Awareness Days, an annual event at the Village that takes place on June 30 and July 1, 2018. The event showcases primitive technologies used by the original inhabitants of the Village, including flint knapping, hide tanning, pottery experts, and other on-site demonstrations of how the ancestors of the first people to live in this region survived.

The 1,000 year-old Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is the only active archaeological site in South Dakota that is open to the public. The Village is a registered National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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