The 2010 MSU Archaeology Field School is a historical archaeological investigation of Fort James (39HS48) in South Dakota. The United States Army erected the stone palisade fort in 1865 near the James River in then Dakota Territory (now Hanson County, South Dakota). The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (#84003290) and is located in the WE ¼ of the SE ¼ of Section 6, T101N R58W, Beulah Township). The site is located on property owned by the Rockport Hutterite Colony.
The fort was a product of the Dakota War, also known at the Dakota War of 1862 and the Sioux Uprising. The conflict was a consequence of the harsh life and hunger endured by the Santee on their reservations along the Minnesota River. Mismanagement and corruption in agency affairs resulted in widespread food and supply shortages. On August 17, 1862, four young Santee seeking food could take no more and killed five whites. On August 18, one the agencies was burned to the ground and the fighting quickly spread into the adjacent white settlements. Approximately 500 whites were killed in the Minnesota River Valley and the numbers vary for those killed in the Dakota Territory. While many of the Santee surrendered, others fled across the border into the Dakota Territory where they joined with bands of the Yankton and Lakota Sioux. US Army punitive expeditions pursued them in 1863 and again in 1864. On the ground, Forts Rice, Sully, and Randall protected the settlers and commerce of the Missouri region, but the area around the James and Big Sioux rivers had no military presence. To correct this the army constructed two additional forts, Fort James and Fort Dakota, both of which were one-company posts.
Fox, Richard A. 2008 Fort James (39HS48)Historical Archaeology ProjectM. Time Team America, Oregon PBS, 2009.
Special thanks for support goes to:
- MSU, Center for Extended Learning: Sponsored technology and funding
- MSU, Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning: Sponsored funding
- MSU, History Department: Sponsored funding
- MSU, College of Arts and Humanities: Sponsored Funding
- MSU, Information Technology Center: Web and technology support
- MSU, Marketing: Provided MSU shirts
- MSU Athletics: Provided MSU site flag
- North Dakota State Historical Society, Archaeology and Historic Preservation Division, Paul Picha: Instruction and access
- South Dakota State Historical Society, Archaeological Research Center, Mike Fosha: Primary Investigator