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Science

Ancient coffeetrees discovered in Mitchell

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Courtesy
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Prehistoric Indian Village

This interview is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

DNA from trees in South Dakota could help illuminate the migration routes of prehistoric Native Americans.

The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village recently discovered a group of Kentucky coffeetrees on its grounds. The trees are not typically found in the Mitchell area.

Cindy Gregg is the executive director of the village. She says the trees might be descended from thousand-year-old seeds brought to the area by Native Americans.

"Once we're able to test the DNA of these trees, or analyze the DNA, we’ll be able to trace the migration routes that these people took or the trade route, and that to us is very important."

Discoveries are typically made underground at the village. The facility houses an archeological dig on the site of a thousand-year-old Native American settlement.