Summer Archeological Dig at Chief Looking’s Village


In June, Paleocultural Research Group (PCRG), a nonprofit research and education organization, will carry out the second phase of a two-year study of Chief Looking’s Village, a Mandan settlement located above Pioneer Park within the City of Bismarck. The goal of the project is to learn more about Mandan history and culture in the Bismarck area during the 1500s.

Major funding for the work comes from the National Science Foundation and the Northern Plains Heritage Foundation (NPHF). The NPHF is the local, non-profit coordinating organization for the Northern Plains National Heritage Area, one of the 49 national heritage areas overseen by the National Park Service. The project is also supported by the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, the North Dakota Archaeological Association, and the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District.

The project, which runs from June 10 to 22, is a collaborative effort  involving PCRG, the NPHF, Minnesota State University—Moorhead, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Colorado. Professional archaeologists will supervise undergraduate and graduate anthropology students and trained volunteers.

The North Dakota Archaeological Association is offering public tours during the project. Tours will be given at 10 AM and 2 PM each day from June 13 through June 18. Contact Doug Wurtz at to learn more or to make reservations.

Artifacts and scientific samples collected during the project will be returned after study to North Dakota’s expanded Heritage Center for permanent storage. The project’s findings will be presented to the public in 2017. PCRG’s previous archaeological investigations in North Dakota informed Elizabeth Fenn’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning work, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People.

For more information, contact PCRG Research Director Dr. Mark D. Mitchell at (303) 439-4098 or at