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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Bismarck in Burleigh County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Midden Mounds (Trash Heaps)

Double Ditch State Historic Site

 
 
Midden Mounds (Trash Heaps) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
1. Midden Mounds (Trash Heaps) Marker
Inscription.  The raised areas you see around the village are midden mounds or earthen mounds ranging from one to ten feet high. There are more than 30 mounds surrounding the village. The Mandans at Double Ditch disposed of their trash in heaps such as the one in front of you. The oldest mounds, dating to AD 1550-1650, occur directly atop Ditches 3 and 4. Excavations showed some mounds to be accumulations of household refuse-animal bones, broken pottery, and ash from hearths-carried and dumped in huge heaps. Other mounds were composed partially or entirely of fill excavated from elsewhere in the village, clearly indicating that those mounds were intentionally constructed. The mounds provide one of several kinds of evidence for large scale earthmoving.

During one phase of occupation, the village defense involved a combination of Ditch 2, which lacked bastions, and several large mounds placed as strong points just inside the ditch. Mound B was built rapidly from borrowed fill, and its construction ceased just when ditch 2 was excavated.

Photo captions:
Borrowed fill in Mound B. This fill has fewer artifacts and lacks the ash

Potential Midden Mounds image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, November 2, 2019
2. Potential Midden Mounds
and other heavy organic concentrations found in other midden mounds with abundant household trash.
Will and Spinden's 1905 trench through Mound B was reopened in 2002
Household trash in Mound 12, with abundant artifacts and layers of ash and corn.

 
Erected by State Historical Society of North Dakota.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyNative Americans.
 
Location. 46° 56.114′ N, 100° 53.809′ W. Marker is near Bismarck, North Dakota, in Burleigh County. Marker can be reached from North Dakota Route 1804. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bismarck ND 58503, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ditch 3 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Founding Community AD 1490-1550 (within shouting distance of this marker); Double Ditch State Historic Site (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ditch 2 (about 500 feet away); Final Occupation of Double Ditch (about 500 feet away); Geophysical Prospecting in Archaeology (about 500 feet away); Missouri River Resources (about 600 feet away); Archaeological Excavations in 1905 (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bismarck.
 
Also see . . .  Double Ditch State Historic Site. (Submitted on August 17, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on August 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 17, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 47 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 17, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
 
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Mar. 6, 2021