Skyteller coming to the Village

We are welcoming Skyteller Lynn Maroney to the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village on September 24th at 7:00 pm.  What an exciting evening this will be!

Lynn grew up in Oklahoma, a child of Chickasaw ancestry.  Many evenings were spent gazing in wonder at the stars and constellations as they glided across the evening skies.  She learned the Greco-Roman stories behind the constellations but it was the legends of her own people that brought her to the path she follows today.

Lynn has learned the stories of indigenous people from all over the world and, for the last 30 years, has shared them with children of all ages.  She has performed all over the United States, from the Smithsonian in Washington, DC to the Academy of Science in San Fransisco, California.   A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Lynn’s Native American ancestry and pioneer roots are deeply woven into her stories.

Lynn has also conducted workshops for NASA Outreach, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the International Planetarium Society, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Local astronomy clubs will bring their telescopes to this event to share with visitors the wonders of the night sky.  This is going to be one spectacular evening!

For more information please call us at 605-996-5473.  Admission to this special event is just $5 for children, $8 for seniors, $10 for adults.  Group discounts are available.  We’ll have refreshments by the fire pit!

The Prehistoric Indian Village Gives Back to the Community

The lights of the Thomsen Center Archeodome reflecting off Lake Mitchell. Photo by Rich Stedman

There are many challenges in operating a museum; whether it be a large one like the Smithsonian or a small one like the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village the challenges are similar.  Raising funds to keep our doors open, of course, is our biggest challenge.  Our responsibility to the community at large is great, due in part to our desire to give back to the community for the generosity it shows.  We are often challenged to think of unique and meaningful ways to give back to the community.

This fall, we are creating a research library for students to study and learn about archaeology, anthropology, Native Americans and more.  We are in the process of gathering books and other media through donations.  The library will be in the basement of the Boehnen Museum.  We are excited about this project and work on the library will begin once our season ends at the end of October.

The library will allow students to access our books and media.  Students will be able to check out some of the books.  Computers will be available for use by the students.  Our goal is to increase awareness of the sciences and disciplines involved in the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village.  Local libraries and colleges have offered to donate books, as well as the staff here at the Village.

We also look forward to the beginning of our prairie project.  A strip of land on the north side of the Thomsen Center Archeodome will be restored to native prairie to give visitors an idea of the what the early people saw around their villages.

Next spring will see the establishment of gardens designed to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects by planting native wildflowers and grasses.  These gardens will be located near the entrance to the Boehnen museum and will include sculptures from Native American artists.

All of these projects are just the beginning of many good things to come in the future for the community and for the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village.

Paleoindian Artifact Found at Prehistoric Indian Village

Archaeologists working at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village last month uncovered an intriguing find, a Paleoindian point believed to be between 7,500 and 8,000 years old.  According to Dr. Adrien Hannus, principal archaeologist at the Village and director of the Archeology Laboratory at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, it is infrequent that such an old artifact would be recovered from a more recent site. The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is 1,000 years old.

The spear point is fashioned from brown chalcedony and is flaked in a style typical of the James Allen or Frederick points.  These styles are more recent than the better known Clovis points.

What is puzzling is how the Paleoindian point arrived at the Village.  Was it an artifact handed down for generations?  Or, was it something a warrior or hunter found and recognized as something old and special?  We may never know.  What we do know is that it was reworked and fashioned into something like a pendant – jewelry or a shaman’s object?  Again, it is likely to remain a mystery.

Paleoindian Spear Point from the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village