Research Report Series

The Research Report series presents the results of excavations and other research in South Dakota archaeology. Hardcopy versions are available for sale, and pdf versions are online for those who wish to download them. To read them, you will need a pdf viewer such as Adobe's Acrobat Reader. With the reader, you can view, download, or print the file. Pdf files can be very large, so a high-bandwidth internet connection is recommended.

rr01 cover Research Report No. 1
Mountain Meadow Sites in the Northern Black Hills

by: Linea Sundstrom, Renee Boen, Steve Keller, and Jane Watts (with an appendix by James E. Martin)

Published: 2002

Abstract: Mitigative data recovery efforts focused on three high-altitude meadow sites in the northern Black Hills, South Dakota. Site 39LA314 is an undated, high-density lithic knapping station. The site was devoted to the production of biface platforms and contained significant amounts of imported lithic raw material from areas to the west of the Black Hills. Site 39LA319 is a late Paleoindian (Plano) special activity site used for prehunt weapon preparation and posthunt tools manufacture and repair, secondary butchering, and hide working. Site 39LA117 contained two cultural horizons: an in situ hunt-related base camp with mixed Middle and Late Archaic components, and a redeposited late Paleoindian to Early Archaic cultural horizon representing a small, special activity site used for initial butchering. These sites are located on an older high terrace surface and within a lower, more recent terrace surface. A pre-Altithermal dry period and a mid-Altithermal wet period may be suggested by terrace formation in the project area.

Details: Softcover, xvi+289 pages. US$15.00. It is also available as a pdf file (27.2M).

To purchase, contact the Archaeological Research Center by emailing or by phone at 1-605-394-1936.

rr02 cover Research Report No. 2
The Blaine Site

by: Linea Sundstrom, Ned Hanenberger, James Donohue, Grant Smith, Michael McFaul, Karen Lynn Traugh, Bruce Potter, and Jane Watts

Published: 2008

Abstract: The Archaeological Research Center undertook mitigative excavations at the Blaine site, 39CU1144, in western Custer County, South Dakota. The site is in the Red Valley physiographic zone of the Black Hills. The site contained three components. Component A comprised four stone circle features (tipi rings) and two cairns exposed on the surface, as well as a small assemblage of lithic tools, ceramics, and lithic debitage on or near the surface. This component dates to the Late Prehistoric and late Late Archaic periods, based on diagnostic artifacts. It represents a few short-term transient camps at which hide working, tool repair, and general group maintenance activities took place. Component B dates to the Middle and Late Archaic periods, based on diagnostic artifacts and a series of radiocarbon dates. This component represents a residential camp at which biface reduction, tool repair, and group maintenance were primary activities. Component C dates to the Early Archaic period, based on two radiocarbon dates (6940 and 5870 B.P.). This component represents a periodically reoccupied residential camp at which the processing of fibrous material such as roots or wood, lithic tool production and repair, and group maintenance apparently were principal activities. Lithic materials suggest weak ties to the west (Powder River country) during the Late Prehistoric. Weak ties to the east (Missouri River) are indicated for the Late Archaic, while the Middle and Early Archaic components appear to represent wholly localized cultures. The site demonstrates that Early Archaic cultural material and Altithermal age depositional features are preserved in portions of the southwestern Black Hills. Terrace formation in the project area is hypothesized to correspond in part to a regional alluvial terrace sequence developed by Leopold and Miller (1954).

Details: This report is available as a pdf file (34.9M) only.

rr03 v1 cover Research Report No. 3
The 1997–2001 Excavations at Fort Pierre Chouteau
Volume 1: The Excavations

by: Mike Fosha

Published: 2010

Fort Pierre Chouteau was established in 1832 by the American Fur Company on the Missouri River near the center of what is now South Dakota. The fort served as one of the major trading posts in the region for more than 20 years. In 1855, it was purchased by the U.S. Army as part of General Harney's expedition to the Plains. Shortly after that it was abandoned, and its dismantled parts were sent downriver to the newly established Fort Randall. The area around the fort languished almost forgotten until the 1980s when a team of volunteers under the direction of Steven Ruple of the S.D. State Historical Preservation Center conducted exploratory excavations. In 1997, teams of archaeologists and volunteers, under the overall direction of Michael Fosha of the South Dakota State Historical Society, returned for 5 summer excavation sessions. Their efforts were focused on determining how much of the fort had survived a century and a half of flooding and agriculture and to map its extent. This report details the results of the field work.

Details: This report is available as a pdf file (35.2M) for the time being.

rr03  v2 cover Research Report No. 3
The 1997–2001 Excavations at Fort Pierre Chouteau
Volume 2: Material Culture

edited by: Michael Fosha and James K. Haug

Published: 2010

Many thousands of artifacts were collected by the archaeologists who excavated at Fort Pierre Chouteau over several seasons. These were broken down into several categories for the purpose of analysis; each set was turned over to a specialist for detailed examination and description. Their reports are collected in this volume, including chapters on trade beads, firearms, buttons and fasteners, glassware, nails and hardware, ceramic pipes, pre-fort artifacts, and toothpicks.

Details: This report is available as a pdf file (53.7M) for the time being.

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