Flooded Knife River site turns up treasure

Stanton, North Dakota (AP) 5-09

Archaeologists surveying flood damage at the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site found some ancient history.

The remains of an ancient hearth fire were uncovered at the site near Stanton.

Superintendent Brian McCutcheon said the archaeologists gathered samples to try to determine their age.

The historic site preserves villages occupied by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Indians at least 200 years ago.

McCutcheon said another new find is a circular trench from a protective fence built by the ancient villagers. Many were killed in the 1830s by smallpox.

The Knife River flooding this spring destroyed stretches of park trail and cut huge chunks in the river bank.

McCutcheon called the damage “an emergency and a tragedy.”