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June 15 - 16 and 22 - 23, 2024

...a GREAT thing to do with Dad & Grandpa for Father's Day!

Who may participate? ...and how?

Ages 5 through adult are invited to work alongside the professional archaeologists. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Spectating is free to all. 


Those who wish to physically participate in the dig must purchase a membership, which also includes a free tour to be taken any time during the 2024 season, as well as free admission to all on-site events. Purchase your membership in advance or in person during the event.

Funds are available to cover the cost of a membership for families who otherwise could not purchase their questions asked. Just send us an email or request your free membership at the visitor center the day of the event. Thank you to the H.L. Palmer Masonic Angel Fund for making sure all families are able to participate, regardless of financial circumstances.

Kids who participate receive a free t-shirt, 

compliments of General Engineering Company. Thank you to volunteer Rob Fullmer for the great graphic design.

Pre-register for your dig times

You may pre-register for the specific dig time(s) in which you wish to participate. There are also a few slots reserved each hour for those who register for dig times at the door. First-come, first-served. Be sure to carefully read all of the information on the registration page before pre-registering.

Dig sponsored by:

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Archaeology kids' camp online - free

Our virtual archaeology kids' camp is available for FREE! Through a series of videos and activities, have fun as a family or school group learning hands-on what it takes to be an archaeologist.

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HIAH dig featured in book

A Practitioner's Guide to Public Archaeology: Intentional Programming for Effective Outreach (Sept. 2024), co-edited by Elizabeth Reetz and Stephanie Sperling, contains a textbox featuring logistics involved with our archaeological dig. Check it out!

Come dig with us

We're in hot pursuit of the hottest place on the hillside: the agency blacksmith shop. Roll up your sleeves and dig with us into our site's buried history. Come prepared to get dirty, learn a lot, and personally play an important part in the quest to expand our historical understanding of how the Fort Winnebago Indian Agency—and particularly the blacksmith shop—functioned in the early 1830s.

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Why archaeology?

Written records, alone, cannot answer some important questions about how John Kinzie's Indian Agency worked.  In this our fifth archaeological season, our main inquiry continues to be how the agency blacksmith shop functioned. A smith was established here in 1830 to serve the Ho-Chunk Nation. Evidence in the ground may reveal answers that help broaden our historical interpretation. Our objective through archaeological inquiry is to be able to educate with a more holistic perspective on the people, places, and significant events of the site's history. In the process, we also hope to foster within participants an appreciation and basic  understanding of this important means by which history is preserved and interpreted.

Blacksmithing demonstrations

Live blacksmithing demonstrations are planned to coincide with our dig weekends. Explore the history and techniques of blacksmithing as we endeavor to locate the 1830s agency blacksmith shop.


Special outdoor exhibits

Enjoy our outdoor 'museum' with various exhibits on both archaeology and frontier blacksmithing for adults and kids. 

Explore Further...

Blacksmith history

Learn the basics about frontier blacksmithing, or dig even deeper into a published paper or a lecture on Indian agency blacksmiths of the American frontier.

Archaeology at the Agency

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