Prehistoric Indian Village (or, the tale of the wrong pair of shoes)

Have you ever seen a movie where a comically overdressed individual is stumbling around, clearly out of their element? Friends, that was me. The first thing you should know about visiting the Prehistoric Indian Village is that thin, high heels are not the best footwear for exploring the museum and dig site; I would have been much better off in more sensible shoes. Live and learn?

Speaking of learning…

When I toured the Prehistoric Indian Village, I did not expect to see a seashell from Florida. Bison skins, yes; bone fragments, yes. But a seashell? From Florida? That caught me off guard. How, exactly, did that end up at an archeological dig site in Mitchell, South Dakota?

As it turns out the site currently being excavated was home to the Arikara Indians, a population that traded extensively. The seashell was accepted in exchange for something the village had – and isn’t the only artifact from afar. To know more about that, though, you’ll need to take the tour!

I was astonished at the detail researchers have been able to – quite literally – uncover about these ancient villagers. From artistic influences to food storage, the Prehistoric Indian Village team has an extensive and expanding understanding of those who lived there a thousand years ago.

The Archeodome will host archeology students this summer in June and July, who will come and dig for a time before returning to school. The Prehistoric Indian Village also hosts several events throughout the summer. I will certainly be returning to explore the museum and Archeodome, and encourage you to do the same – but please, wear comfortable shoes.

Visit the Prehistoric Indian Village to find out…

What did the Arikara Indians do that modern science has yet to improve upon?

Bison bone marrow was used to make a primitive “trail mix” called Pemmican; how long was its shelf life?

Mitchell isn’t just the home of the World’s Only Corn Palace – it’s my home, too. So come on over! Stop in for an afternoon, a weekend, a while.


Jacki Miskimins is the Director of the Mitchell Convention & Visitors Bureau. She is documenting her experiences rediscovering her hometown. Do you have an idea for a post? Let her know!