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Double Ditch Indian Village State historic Site - History

Ditch 2

Ditch 2 was likely constructed late in the AD 1600s or early 1700s. The second fortification system at Double Ditch appears to have combined mounds and the ditch, with the mounds possibly acting as strong points similar to bastions.

An artificial earthen berm inside the ditch rose nearly 10 feet above the ditch floor. Ditch 2 enclosed 12 acres and likely protected 90 to 100 houses. When Ditch 2 was built, there was an estimated population of around 1,200 persons, a village one-third smaller than the founding community. Later, extensive earthmoving by site residents destroyed most house features associated with Ditch occupation village graphic

Final Occupation of Double Ditch

Ditch 1 protected the last settlement at Double Ditch. At four acres the village was only about one-fifth its original area. Tiny bastions along Ditch 1 were mere shadows of those used in Ditch 4, 200 years before. Only 32 clear earthlodge depressions can be counted inside Ditch 1. This indicates a population of less than 400 persons when smallpox struck in AD 1781-1782. Mounds and ruins from previous times towered over and surrounded the small, final community.

Intersecting pits in the village core attest to three centuries of continuous occupation. There are few, if any, superimposed house floors or architectural features, except those from the very last cycle of lodge building. Remains of lodges were completely removed prior to rebuilding, and thus multiple house floors are not visible in the soil profiles.

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ND 1804, Bismarck
Located seven and one-half miles north of Bismarck.
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Site open year round.

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phone: 701.328.2666