I am cozy and cozy is feeling really good right now. Outside our hotel room, the wind is still howling, the rain is still flying sideways. I am mellow. The outside is not. Yesterday, it was in the high 70’s. Today, it’s in the 50’s. But before we slid into this vortex of wild and woolly, we stopped off at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village. Mitchell, South Dakota is not really known for it’s Indian Village. Rather, it’s the home of the Corn Palace.
Ta Da! Here it is….it’s some weird Kiev/Moscow hybrid whose outside walls are covered with corn husks. Mr. Al and I wondered if it ever caught on fire, would it become the PopCorn Palace?
The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is an archeological dig site. It’s fascinating. Over 1000 years ago, while paper money was being used in China and libraries were being stocked in Alexandria, and the Normans were defeating the British in England, Native Americans were using rivers to migrate north, bringing corn (yes, we’ve got the corn thing again) from Central America and farming on the stream banks in Mitchell. These peaceful peoples farmed–planting corn,beans and squash all together in a symbiotic-type deal. The beans gave back nitrogen to the soil, the corn allowed the beans to grow up their stalks and the corn leaves shielded the squash which became a lovely ground cover that kept weeds at bay. The peoples–the ancestors of the Mandan tribe that lived on the banks of the Missouri River in North Dakota of Louis and Clark fame–lived in settlements in the South Dakota area for hundreds of years until their timber supply was used up, forcing them to move on. What is so important about this archeological site is that the area has not been disturbed since these ancients left, making it an archeologist’s dream come true.
The area, above, marked by strings is where one of the village homes would have been. There were about 50 or more such dwelling sites. The Thomsen Center is the actual dig site. It has been covered since the mid-1990’s.
Here’s a look inside a dig site:
Here is how they travelled through their river and stream waterways–in circular canoes called Bowl Boats made out of a single buffalo hide–
And here is how they used their dogs….pre-horse pack animals, some dogs were larger than wolves.
The rest of the day was driving in the rain.
We stopped again at Wall Drug for a $3.00 donut and a $.05 cup of coffee. If you ever get to Wall Drug, take a look at the artwork on the restaurant walls It’s museum quality Western scenes. No kidding.
In the Badlands, the run off? It made the water look like pools of milk.
I’m so happy to be cozy.
Tomorrow, we’re back to a good mosey into the southern part of the Black Hills.
I hope you all are cozy, too.