Crow Creek Massacre


WARNING! Just below this introduction and on some of the links from this page, human skeletal remains are shown. This may offend or shock some people. Please read the Warning! before you go on.

The Crow Creek Massacre:

Early Farming, Climate Change, and Warfare

What do you think about when you see the bones in the picture? Some people think the picture looks like "the Killing Fields" of Cambodia in Southeast Asia during the late 1970's. The picture reminds other people of the Holocaust in World War II when many people were killed in the concentration camps. Actually, the bones are from an archaeological site in central South Dakota along the Missouri River. Nearly 500 people were the victims of a massacre that occurred early in the 14th Century, around 1325 A.D. Archaeologists have several ideas about what happened at the Crow Creek Site, about who killed the people and why. One hypothesis is that these village farmers had too many people for the land to support and got involved in battles over land.

If you would like to find out more about the Crow Creek Massacre, click on any of the words that are blue. You can also click on any picture that is surrounded in blue to see a larger image. When you are done learning about the Crow Creek Massacre, be sure to take try the quiz to see what you remember about the people and what happened at Crow Creek!

Who were the Crow Creek villagers?

What were their houses and village like?

What happened during the massacre?

What lessons can we learn about the use of the land and environment?

What do you remember about Crow Creek? Take the quiz!

What happened to the bones after the dig and study?

Paleopathology of Crow Creek

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