The Fortified Villages of the Dakotas

Author(s): W. W. Caldwell

Year: 1962


From the time of first contact by European and American travelers, the fortified villages of the sedentary, horticultural Indians who lived along the Missouri River in what today are the States of North and South Dakota have been a matter for speculation and comment— and with good reason. Many of the defensive features have close counterparts in the fortified villages and castles of the mote and bailey type of western Europe. This is not to imply that there was any direct relationship but the similarities are startling. Although the pattern of defense changed with time, and ultimately came to have little resemblance to Old World types, fortified villages remained a constant feature of aboriginal life in the Middle Missouri Region. Even as recently as the 1860's, the remnants of the village peoples, the Mandan, the Hidatsa and the Arikara, were living in a single combined village surrounded by a simple timber palisade as a protection from the mounted hunters who had come to dominate much of the Northern Plains.

Cite this Record

The Fortified Villages of the Dakotas, October-December 1962. W. W. Caldwell. 1962 ( tDAR id: 394098) ; doi:10.6067/XCV89C70KR

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -109.424; min lat: 40.246 ; max long: -89.912; max lat: 48.922 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Anne Vawser

Contributor(s): W. W. Caldwell

Sponsor(s): Missouri River Basin Project, Smithsonian Institution


General Note: Multiple tDAR resources were created in the past by the National Archaeological Database. All useful and important information has been combined into this current resource.

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