Despite hard times the community has grown, and the attackers are taking advantage of a break that had been made in the palisade wall recently in order to move the wall outward. They shoot stone-tipped arrows at the few villagers who meet them. For weeks after the attack, the bodies of the villagers lie on the open ground while wolves and coyotes, crows and vultures pick at their bones. That wall would have been lined with saplings, brush and even buffalo hide to provide more protection.
They use stone axes and wooden clubs when they close ranks with the defenders. A fortification ditch, 1,250 feet long and once seven to eight feet deep, lies outside that wall on the side not guarded by cliff faces.
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Eventually some of the villagers return to bury the nearly 500 victims in a mass grave - the worst atrocity in the history of what will one day be the state of South Dakota.
Today, even after nearly 700 years, the ditch is still deep enough to get a pickup truck stuck in.
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(AP) - The warning cries go up before the sun even peers above the Plains. Before the Missouri River dams were built, it sat on a bluff bordered by Crow Creek and Wolf Creek to the north, but is now abutted by the Big Muddy itself. An excavation of part of the site by the Nebraska State Historical Society done in the 1950s found there had been at least 55 lodges inside the village.