HOT SPRINGS, S.D. - Dr. Agenbroad, the Principal Investigator and Site Director, of the Mammoth Site announced that Earthwatch Excavations will take place in two two-week sessions. The first Earthwatch volunteer crew will start on July 2 and finish on July 14. The second crew will start on July 16 and finish on July 28. They will be excavating from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Those visitors who don’t come during the excavation hours can get a pass to come back during the regular excavation hours. Earthwatch has been involved in the excavations at the Mammoth Site since 1976. This year’s crews will be 17% returnees and 83% new volunteers. The Earthwatch volunteers are from the U.S. United Kingdom, and Australia.
Included in this year’ s volunteers is one who will be on her thirty-third and thirty-fourth two-week sessions at the Mammoth Site.
Dr. Agenbroad has been Principal Investigator at the Mammoth Site since its discovery in 1974. He was the only United States scientist to participate in the excavation of the “Jarkov mammoth” from Siberia in October of 1999. The excavation and the Mammoth Site were featured on Discovery Channel’s “Raising the Mammoth” ™, and “Land of the Mammoth” which aired in March of 2000 and 2001. He was also the premier person featured on Discovery Channel’s “Island of the Pygmy Mammoth” which aired in May 2002. He received the Lowell Thomas award from the Explorers Club in October 2005. The Lowell Thomas Award is given by the President of The Explorers Club to groups of outstanding explorers who have distinguished themselves in a particular field.
The Earthwatch volunteers and Dr. Agenbroad's staff will be excavating new areas of the sinkhole looking for more mammoths and other species of animals which became trapped and died in this sinkhole death trap 26,000 years ago. To date 55 mammoths (52 Columbian and 3 woolly) have been discovered as well as 82 other species of animals, plants, and several unidentified insects. It is hoped that we will uncover more fossils to aid in the determination of whether 2003’s discovery is American lion or Giant short-faced bear.
Don Morris will be Dr. Agenbroad’s Crew Chief during the Earthwatch Excavations. Don is a retired archaeologist for the National Park Service. He has worked with Dr. Agenbroad on the excavation and research of pygmy mammoth at Channel Islands National Park.
The Mammoth Site’s new 12,000 square foot addition features many new exhibits including a Woolly Mammoth Butcher Scene, Giant short-faced bear, mammoth bone house replica, Life-size Columbian mammoth, pygmy mammoth, Les and Leona Ferguson Artifact Collection, mammoth localities, American Lion, Mammoth Site History, and many others. The new laboratory is open for viewing by the visiting public. Visitors can see into the laboratory and view the work being conducted therein.