20 fourth- and fifth-grade children recently attended the three-day archaeological camp at Fort Galpin hosted by the South Dakota State Historical Society.
Fort Galpin was a post occupied by the American Fur Company in 1856 and 1857 after the company sold nearby Fort Pierre Chouteau to the military. The company stayed at the fort for only a year while completing the second Fort Pierre. The location was also occupied by a rival company that moved in later.
Along with a team of archaeologist from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the children excavated small squares of ground where Fort Galpin was believed to have been located. For their hard work they were rewarded with the discovery of glass beads, pieces of flat glass, a small bottle, evidence of charcoal and a bone.
Paige Olson, a state historical society employee who spearheaded setting up the camp last year, said the camp instills in the children the techniques of archaeology. That includes one lesson that’s not easy for adults, let alone elementary students: not necessarily removing things once you find them.