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August 11th, 2016
Hot Springs, South Dakota – Graveyard for Mammoths #travel

A Smithsonian article turned up in my inbox this week about mammoths that lived on an island in the Bering sea. They became extinct on this island around 5600 years ago and experts have concluded this happened because rising sea waters contaminated the water table and therefore their water supply.

This reminded me of our visit to Hot Springs in South Dakota a few years ago. The city of Hot Springs is the southern gateway to the Black Hills. In 1974 a construction crew were working on a building site and hit a tusk. They called experts who found a site full of bones, and what turned out to be a huge Columbian mammoth gravesite.

The area was once a sinkhole and over the years, many mammoths and other animals fell in, and unable to climb back out, they perished.

The site has turned into the largest collection of mammoth skeletons found in the United States. They have found 60 mammoth skeletons and at least three woolly mammoth skeletons.

Work on the site is on-going and volunteers are still uncovering new finds.

Mammoth_dig site

Mammoth_skeleton 2


You can see the skeletons and tusks in the above photos of mammoths that ventured too close to the sink hole and died.


This particular head and tusks is known as Beauty because it is so beautifully preserved and symmetrical.


This is a life-size model of a Columbian mammoth, and that’s hubby standing in front of it so you can get an idea of the size. The tusks are huge, and the mammoths must have been a fearsome sight in the flesh.

We loved our visit to the mammoth site. It was fascinating, and we spent some time wandering around and taking photos. If you live anywhere near Hot Springs or are visiting the area, I highly recommend a visit.

3 comments to “Hot Springs, South Dakota – Graveyard for Mammoths #travel”

  1. I’ve always found it so interesting when archaeologists find old bones and are able to put some prehistoric animal back together.

  2. We’ve been to South Dakota but never visited Hot Springs. This will definitely go on my bucket list.

    I can’t help feeling sorry for the animals. What a horrible way to die.

  3. Mary, I agree. The US has some excellent places to see dinosaur bones, skeletons and prints.

    Maria – it would have been a terrible way to die. They say that many of the animals would have been enticed by the green grass growing on the sides of the sink hole. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area. We spend an entire morning wandering around the site. I believe you can also take part in some of the digging, which is ongoing.