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State Historical Society archaeology camp registration opens May 3

The South Dakota State Historical Society’s Historic Preservation Office is sponsoring a three-day archaeology camp for students going into grades 4-6 for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Camp dates are June 15-17, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CDT. The program is structured for students to attend all three days.   

Archaeology Camp is an active, outdoor experience located on an archaeological site near the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area north of Fort Pierre. Students should be prepared to hike and to work in the dirt alongside professional archaeologists. Due to the ongoing pandemic, all campers will be required to wear masks.

Students will be introduced to the field of archaeology, learning why archaeological excavations are held, what stories artifacts can tell about the past, the history of fur trading posts, how to map a site and how to use team-building skills.

In addition to excavations at the site, other activities will include processing artifacts and practicing with atlatls (ancient weapons which preceded the bow and arrow). There will also be trips to the Turtle Effigy and the Oahe Chapel, along with a tour of the museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center.

Due to the popularity of the camp, registrations are limited to the first 15 applicants who have not previously attended. Prior participants may apply, but their names will be added to a lottery and only considered if there are less than 15 new campers. 

The registration fee is $30, and registration begins at 8 a.m. on May 3. It will close on May 6 or when the camp is full, whichever comes first. No walk-in campers will be accepted on camp days.

Registration and payment will be available online only via the website at Click on the red link near the top of the page.

For more information on the archaeology camp, please contact Jenna Carlson Dietmeier with the historic preservation office at 605-773-8370 or

For more information on other historic preservation programs, contact the State Historic Preservation Office at the Cultural Heritage Center, 900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501-2217; telephone 605-773-3458, email or visit For more information about the State Historical Society or how to become a member, visit or call 605-773-6000.

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution since 2013, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

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