More than 26,000 years ago, large Columbian and woolly mammoths were trapped and died in a spring-fed pond near what is now the southwest edge of Hot Springs, South Dakota.
For centuries the bones lay buried, until discovered by chance in 1974 while excavating for a housing development, earth moving equipment exposed South Dakota's greatest fossil treasure.
Fortunately, through the work of local citizens, the Mammoth Site was preserved. Today it is the world's largest Columbian mammoth exhibit, and a world-renown research center for Pleistocene studies.
From humble beginnings a world-class museum grew.
Now enclosed and protected by a climate controlled building, the sinkhole and the in-situ exhibit of mammoth bones attracts visitors year round. The bones are displayed as they were discovered, in the now dry pond sediments for an "in-situ" exhibit. Walkways allow visitors a close-up view of the fossils. To date, 59 mammoths have been identified, along with the remains of a Giant short-faced bear, camel, llama, prairie dog, wolf, fish, and numerous invertebrates.
The importance to science.
The Mammoth Site, a nonprofit corporation (501 C 3), provides the following to the worldwide scientific community: a comparative collection of mammoth remains, Ice Age vertebrates and invertebrates, geology, and 26,000 year old environmental data. This information is the basis for investigations, exhibits, and educational programs at the Mammoth Site. In fact, the Site's methods of research, interpretation, and exhibits are studied for implementation around the world.
The “Visiting Scientist” Program
Dr. Larry Agenbroad was appointed Mammoth Site Principal Investigator in 1974 and, with his guidance, the Mammoth Site has sponsored a "Visiting Scientist" program in which a researcher is invited to study at the site during the month of July.Visiting professionals have included: Dr. Adriana Torres (Mexico), Dr. Laura Luzi (Italy), world renowned mammoth researcher Dick Mol (Netherlands), Dr. Adrian Lister (England), Dr. Gennady Baryshnikov (Russia), Dr. Dan Fisher (USA), and Dr. Ralf-Deitrich Kahlke (Germany). As a slight departure natural history illustrator, Carl Dennis Buell (NY) was invited for a two week period during the 1998 Field Season. Through Buell's study of osteology, he was able to artfully "flesh-out" features of the Mammoth Site's giant short-faced bear (Arctodus simus ) and the three of the site's Columbian mammoths.
Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg,
Russia, zoologist Dr. Alexei Tikhonov was the Visiting Scientist during
the dig season July of 2001. While at the site, Dr. Alexei Tikhonov and
Dr. Larry Agenbroad collaborated on a "soon-to-be-publication" comparing
osteology of the woolly and Columbian mammoth. Alexei is a member of
three professional bodies, two of which are involved exclusively with
mammoths--- as Scientific Secretary of the Russian Academy of Science's
Mammoth Committee, and as the Russian "Mammuthus" Program Coordinator.
The "Mammuthus" program is affiliated with Discovery Channel's "Raising
the Mammoth" and "Land of the Mammoth" productions.