Research@Mines Archive:
October, 2019

Buffalo Bones Return to the Black Hills to be Preserved for Study

Part of a bison skull and other bones after being catalogued and placed in climate-controlled storage at SD Mines.

Between 1993 and 1995, a team of archeologists undertook an excavation of prehistoric animal bones in the Deerfield area of the Black Hills. They found bison, mountain lion, deer, elk and a range of smaller animal bones. Work on the age of the specimens is still underway, but researchers estimate some of the bones date as far back as 8,000 years.

After excavation, the bones were taken to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, where they stayed for more than 20 years. In 2017, the US Forest Service moved these back to South Dakota, and students in the paleontological resource management class at SD Mines stepped up to help. The students took part in an effort between the US Forest Service, the South Dakota State Historical Society Archaeological Research Center, and the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology to curate these specimens.

“A lot of times, in different repositories, this material will just sit and sit for years,” says Mike Hilton, the heritage resources program manager for the Black Hills National Forest. Hilton gives praise to Sally Shelton, the associate director of the Museum of Geology at Mines, and the students in her paleontology resource management class. The students undertook the bulk of t...

Last Edited 10/22/2019 02:18:43 PM [Comments (0)]

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