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Searching For Ancient Indian Village At Lynch

Jul 5, 2023 (0)

Ancient Village - Dr. Doug Bamforth (center man with hat) and his helpers digging up and examining an ancient village found in Lynch. Students are taking measurements and examining old broken ceramic pieces. Dr. Bamforth started his excavation in June and will cease work on July 7th.

Courtesy Marita Placek

A large crowd attended Dr. Doug Bamforth's presentation at the Lynch Community Hall on Sunday morning, June 18, of Lynch's JuneFest weekend. Dr. Bamforth showed pictures of the archaeological digging site and discussed the subject of the dig where they are currently working. He spoke about what they have uncovered in the storage pits at the ancient Indian village, including the crops they raised, preserved and stored. Corn, squash and beans are just a few. In time the storage pit became a pit for garbage and broken fragments of pottery, probably made from the local clay. Dr. Bamforth also talked about the larger migration of the plains Indians, asking the question - what brought them here and why did they leave after 100 years?

For the past month (June), Dr. Doug Bamforth, professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, and Dr. K. C. Carlson, from Augustana University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plus 19 students who attend various archaeological field schools, have been working at the archaeological site near Lynch, Nebraska. Students will receive college credits for their work this summer.

Despite the weather, workers have been busy researching the area since the first of June. As their deadline, July 7th, is rapidly approaching, they are busy packing up recently discovered artifacts and tools to return to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for further research. They worked on weekends, thus giving people who work during the week the opportunity to visit the work site on their time off. Dr. Bamforth urged people, “Please feel free to come out while we're working to visit and see what we are doing. There is not another site like this in Nebraska.”

This ancient Indian village was first unearthed by Dr. Earl H. Bell, anthropologist, and a group of University of Nebraska students scientists in the summer of 1936, after receiving reports from George Wilcox, a former superintendent of Lynch schools, about all the arrowheads found on the hill. The large prehistoric village was discovered a short distance northwest of Lynch beneath the sands existing in Boyd County -- living proof that agricultural people once lived here. They lived here from around 1250 to 1350. Prior to this discovery, scientists did not believe any agricultural people ever lived in Nebraska. Researchers now have radiocarbon dating to back them up dating the living quarters where these indigenous people lived, ate, and slept in earth lodges similar to today's earth lodges.

In 1950 scientists researched the ancient village above Lynch. Work began again at the ancient Indian village in 2018 and 2019 with a small crew on the north end of the site. However, it was not very productive as this area had been plowed up and farmed for so many years. Over the years in their spare time, people searched the village for 'treasures' they could take home without a thought of where they found it or even mark where they found it to let future generations know its history.

The following year, 2020, with permission from the landowners, Dr. Bamforth began his research. Excavations were moved from the plowed field on the north side of the road to the pasture land on the south side of the road with much better results.

Dr. Bamforth says, “We enjoyed our stay in Lynch and all Lynch has to offer. The people have been so kind, friendly and helpful. It's been great.” Will they be back next year to continue their research? We hope so, but we'll just have to wait and see what the future brings.


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