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The Fascinating Archaeological Discovery That Put This Rural North Dakota Town On The Map

Posted 9/06/23 (Wed)

Posted in North Dakota History, August 22, 2023 by 

It’s no secret whatsoever that the state of North Dakota (and most of the American Midwest) is interwoven with the incredibly lengthy, intriguing history of the Native American peoples who have occupied its land for centuries. It’s home to numerous absolutely amazing historical sites directly related to the many tribes and groups who have called what is now North Dakota home at one time or another; one such location was once a huge, vibrant village that might have had up to 1,000 people calling it home for about two decades. This intriguing archaeological discovery in North Dakota put the tiny town of Huff on the map… at least for those of us who are really, really into archaeology.

It is, however, a place that many history geeks - particularly those of the archaeological persuasion - will recognize immediately as a place of tremendous significance.

It dates back to some time around AD 1450, though researchers believe that the community was only in use for about 20 years, due to a lack of clarity in the village plan and little to no evidence of waste disposal or buildup.

You can still see the locations of where about 100 lodgings were all lined up in rows along the banks of the river. It was a Mandan settlement. Today, there are still Mandan in North Dakota - they were here at least 200 years prior to the arrival of European colonizers, and they are still here today. This particular settlement would not be rediscovered until the early 1900s.

It features some truly brilliant highlights like a 2,000-foot-plus long ditch with 10 obvious, well-defined bastions along its lengths.

These items and artifacts include everything from your standard pottery shards, arrowheads, and art to more intricate things like glimpses into a long gone past that you definitely don't find every day.

To learn a more detailed history of the site, visit the official State Historical Society of North Dakota website. You’ll find the site exactly one half-mile south of Huff; admission is free, though they do always accept donations (please and thank you!). Want to road trip it to Huff to check it out? Bring all the best snacks using our epic road trip snacks guide, which is perfect for a North Dakotan adventure.