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Student dig at Fort Meade unearths discoveries [Video]

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Black Entrepreneurs

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – Students and professors from the University of South Dakota and Augustana University completed their 2024 archaeological dig at Fort Meade – and found several artifacts helping to paint the picture of early settlers in western South Dakota.

Fort Meade, a former army outpost near Sturgis, is currently home to a Veterans Administration hospital, but was a significant military site in the late 1800s and early 1900s. During that time, women operated laundry businesses just north of the fort, near what is now South Dakota Highway 34.

This area, known as “Soap Suds Row,” is where the young archaeologists broke ground.

Some artifacts were especially significant, leading to new discoveries.

“We found some toys, which is the first evidence at this site that there were children here,” said Aaron Mayer, Augustana University’s senior archaeologist.

Mayer speculates some of the women operating laundries may have married soldiers or other men living nearby, which would explain the …

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