The Mammoth Site
We visited the Mammoth Graveyard while staying at Devil's Tower National Monument, which was a 2-3 hour drive, but well worth the trip. The Mammoth Graveyard is located in Hot Springs, South Dakota, near Custer State Park (27 miles) and Mt. Rushmore (55 miles).
In 1974, during an excavation for a housing project, an employee uncovered a few bones and tusks. After further investigation, it was discovered that they belonged to a prehistoric mammoth. The land was handed over to scientists who began to uncover more bones and fossils. It was decided that rather than moving the bones to a museum, a museum could be built over the site. This way, people will see the bones in their discovered location.
They have uncovered two types of mammoths (woolly and Colombian) as well as voles, frogs, gophers, camels, dogs, and bears. Signs of plant life have been uncovered, too. The site was once a sinkhole that animals fell or jumped into and became trapped because of the height of the walls. The hole filled up with water over the years, and trapped animals drowned. The sinkhole is approximately 26,000 years old.
The museum offers tours that are worth the small price of the ticket. You are also allowed to go in and wander along the bridges that wind over the dig. There are also displays and signs explaining what you are looking at and what has been found at the site.
For more information, visit the Mammoth Graveyard official site.
External Related Links
Just a few sites we used to help plan our trip.
Black Hills National Forest
Wind Cave National Park
Jewel Cave National Park