Artifacts first dug up in Plymouth County back in 1936 have now led to the Kimball Village Site in western Iowa being named a National Historic Landmark.

State Historical Society spokesman Jeff Morgan, says three years after the artifacts were first discovered, a team from the Works Progress Administration dug eight-foot trenches and uncovered thousands of artifacts at the site.

“They found houses, storage pits, burial features and more than nine-thousand different artifacts — including more than 100 tools that were made from shell and bone. They found shell and stone beads and ceramic pottery dating back some 800 years to around the 1150, 12-hundred time period,” Morgan says. He says it is one of the best sites in the country of its type.

“This particular site is very well preserved. Researchers used archeological field investigations and geophysical surveys to show that the site was actually a complete village with at least 20 houses that were fortified,” Morgan says. It also shows a lot about the daily life of the Prairie-Plains residents.

“Original inhabitants hunted deer, buffalo and other animals and actually lived through a transformative period of North American history where they switching from a nomadic existence to living in compact villages like what we found here,” Morgan says. “They grew primitive corn and other grain-based foods and live there near the Big Sioux River for quite a long time.” Kimball Village is the 26th National Historic Landmark in Iowa and the first in Plymouth County.

“The National Historic Landmarks Program recognizes historic properties of exceptional value to the nation and promotes the preservation efforts of federal, state, and local levels and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals. So, this is certainly a prestigious honor,” according to Morgan.

You can find out more about National Historic Landmarks in Iowa at: