- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The need to address erosion at the Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site north of Bismarck is becoming more urgent, according to the North Dakota State Historical Society.

Erosion has plagued the site on the Missouri River since major flooding along the river five years ago. Two landslides have exposed 16 burial sites that officials have had to relocate, The Bismarck Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1V6igF8 ).

Another landslide is now developing that goes through the village itself, according to Fern Swenson, the society’s director of archaeology and historic preservation.

“It’s an emergency situation,” she said. “We can’t afford to wait.”

The Legislature last year approved $3.5 million to address erosion at the site. State officials are seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the work and hoping to get it quickly so the construction work can be bid and started in the next few months. The state hired a Michigan-based company last fall to do the engineering and design work.

Historians believe Double Ditch was home to Mandan Indians for nearly 300 years before a smallpox epidemic wiped out the 22-acre village in the late 1700s. The village’s peak population is estimated at about 2,000.

The village was first excavated in 1905. It was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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