The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs


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In 1974, the land where The Mammoth Site sits was being excavated for a new housing development when a construction worker discovered odd bones and a mammoth tooth.  The landowner then donated the bone bed to a non-profit organization. The non-profit built a structure to enclose the site to protect the area for careful excavation by paleontologists.


In the past few decades, volunteers and scientists have unearthed 61 mammoth skeletons along with the remains of other prehistoric creatures. Twenty thousand years ago, a sinkhole formed in the area and then filled with warm water from a hot spring. Mammoths were attracted to the pond by the water and vegetation. Some fell in and were unable to climb the steep walls to get out.


The animals trapped in the pond died from starvation, exhaustion or drowning. Then, over the course of a few centuries, the sinkhole filled with sediment, entombing and preserving the mammoth bones. Today, visitors to the site can tour the dig site and explore the hands on exhibits in the museum.


Mammoth Site video courtesy of Black Hills & Badlands on You Tube:

Location: 1800 US-18 BYP, Hot Springs, SD 57747

Designation: National Natural Landmark

Date designated or established: 1980

Date of my visit: 7/30/2009


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