Because later Double Ditch residents used the first ditch as a trash dump and garden plots, and built their own houses where the earliest houses had stood, it is difficult to make an accurate count. However, archeologists estimate the number of houses surrounded by Ditch 4 by utilizing the house density per acre at other sites dating to this same period.
Magnetic gradiometry is a geophysical method of reading the shapes that occur below the earth’s surface. This method was applied in 2002 and revealed two ditches that were not visible to early archeologists who could only see and map the surface contours of the site.
At Double Ditch, archeologists are able to study the pattern of 4 distinct ditches as they were constructed over a period of more than 200 years. The bastions in the first two ditches are similar to each other and to those at Huff Village and some other sites. This suggests cultural continuity – that the people who built the first two ditches learned how to fortify a village from their parents, grandparents, and other elders. A change in construction might indicate that a new idea, or perhaps a new group of people, had come to the site. It might also indicate that the community had less ability to organize labor to construct the more elaborate bastions.
Archeological information is not as abundant for the first two villages because the subsequent residents’ activities including building new structures, keeping hobbled horses, or farming, have churned up the surface evidence. Artifacts such as bones and tools would have been removed with the clearing of the site for later structures and uses.
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Museum Store: 8am - 5pm M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10am - 5pm.
State Archives: 8am - 4:30pm., M-F, except state holidays, and 2nd Sat. of each month, 10am - 4:30 pm.
State Historical Society offices: 8am - 5pm M-F, except state holidays.
phone: (701) 328-2666
fax: (701) 328-3710