Without question, some of Nebraska's premier tourism attractions are the excellent network of state historical parks developed and operated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Game and Parks and the Historical Society have had a long and productive cooperative relationship in the investigation, restoration, and development of a number of Nebraska's unique historic resources.
Game and Parks provides funding for Society archeology crews to excavate building foundations and other historic features in these parks.Those investigations have provided the Commission with a great deal of information on the events and lifestyles of former inhabitants and more important, recovered critical architectural data needed for building reconstruction.
Society archeologists conduct archeological inventories of recreational parks during planning phases to insure important sites are not damaged during development. A Native American burial mound in Mahoney State Park is in an area of the park which would have been impacted by recreation road construction. Identification of the cemetery was done prior to construction and the area was avoided through redesign.
Examples of major excavations in the state park system.
ASH HOLLOW CAVE: A stratified rock shelter containing the remains of Native American camps dating between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1700. A trading post was also investigated.
ROCK CREEK STATION: This site is an excellently preserved example of an 1860s Oregon Trail "Road Ranch." Society archeologists investigated several of the ranch buildings leading to their reconstruction.
FORT ATKINSON: This famous post was the first military installation west of the Missouri River (1820-1827). The site is located north of Omaha and historical research and archeological investigations have offered a detailed picture of life on the very early Euroamerican frontier. Society archeologists have worked at Fort Atkinson intermittently since the 1950s and have uncovered much of the barracks quadrangle, the council house, the powder magazine, and possibly, the commanding officer's quarters.
FORT ROBINSON: Occupied from the 1870s through the 1940s, Fort Robinson was an important military post serving a variety of functions from Indian wars outpost to World War II prisoner of war camp. Archeological excavations have focused on late nineteenth-century structures.