South Dakota

Fort James

In 1865, a unit of cavalry soldiers thought they had volunteered to fight in the Civil War. Instead, they found themselves sent west to keep the peace between incoming pioneer settlers and the Sioux Indians in what is now South Dakota. Upon their arrival, the soldiers built Fort James, one of the few stone forts on the American frontier. The fort's quartzite walls still peek out from under a grassy field that seems to have somehow survived intact. The site has never been excavated but experts believe that the fort's remains hold a time capsule of information about life on the early frontier. Time Team America traveled to South Dakota on a rescue mission to help answer these questions so that the site's archaeology can be protected for future research:

  1. How much of the fort survives today?
  2. How large of an area does the fort cover?


Children from the local Hutterite community help out at the Fort James dig.
Learn how the Time Team America dig is helping to preserve Fort James for future research.