Artifact roadshow opens window to Black Hills’ past

CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. – The Custer State Park Visitor Center hosted the “Grasslands Artifact Roadshow” Saturday.

Emily Reif, a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and volunteer with the Grasslands Artifact Roadshow, carefully studies and catalogues an artifact that was brought in by a visitor. Photo Date: Oct. 20, 2018.

Emily Reif studies an artifact.

The event, which is held throughout Nebraska and surrounding states during the year, is a collaboration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the U.S. Forest Service.

At the artifact roadshow, visitors can bring in items that they have unearthed on their private property. A professional archaeologist then analyzes the artifact and adds its information in a database of other found artifacts. The items are then returned to the owners.

Visitors from South Dakota and Wyoming brought more than 100 artifacts they dug up to be analyzed.

One of the artifacts was estimated to be about 8,000 years old.

Emily Reif, a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and volunteer with the artifact roadshow, says that studying these collections of artifacts allows us to learn about the history of human migration to and through the Black Hills region.

“We want to look at these collections to document where the people have moved in from,” said Reif. “We can look at the material that the points are made out of and the style of point, to sort of dial in maybe where the material was originating from and how far it had traveled to the location where it was found at. It helps us to look at the populations of people who were living here thousands of years ago.”

To learn more about the artifact roadshow, visit the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Great Plains Studies online.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News