Nebraska man digs out pioneer village in back yard - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Nebraska man digs out pioneer village in back yard

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NEAR ROYAL, Nebraska (KTIV) -- History is everywhere. But, sometimes, it takes a little effort to be seen.

Monday, a Nebraska man started his journey back in time, digging up the remains of a pioneer town in his own backyard.

Welcome to the rolling hills of Mars, Nebraska. Not much today, but in 1879, it was a pioneer village founded by Samuel Haskin

"This is part of my history and Nebraska's heritage," says Dick Haskin, Samuel's Great Great Grandson.

Now, nearly 130 years later, Samuel's great-great-grandson is turning dirt and turning back time, funding the excavation of Mars by himself and starting with his grandfather's home.

"I learn more about me cause if I can learn more about my great great grandfather that may explain why I am the way I am or why I look the way that I do or why I act the way I do," says Dick.

The answers to those questions are buried below. So, over the next 2 to 4 years, Dick Haskin and a few volunteers, will dig up the hill side to bring history out of hiding.

This excavation thing works pretty simply a grid is laid out and holes are dug and then that dirt is placed in a bucket. It's then sifted. And, from all that dirt, comes the tiny pieces of history, glass shards, metal, all will be packed up and set aside for analysis. If bigger items are found like furniture, out come the small tools.

"I'm hoping will find some type of maybe a piece of furniture, or a piece of a stove or something like that," says Volunteer Ron Carlson.

But any digger will tell you, it's not about what you find so much as what you learn.

"We're going to learn the exact dimensions of the dugout where the floor was and how it was partitioned off and so we'll still learn thing's even if we don't find any artifacts.

"Our history is getting away from us I think and I think this is some thing great for other generations," says Carlson.

So thanks to Dick, and his group, every scoop of the shovel and shift of the hand makes the images of Mars, Nebraska a bit clearer.

After the dirt is gone and some history collected, what's next for the site?

Haskin says he has got big plans. He says after his great-great-grandfather's home is out of the ground, he wants to restore the building, itself.

Then other buildings like the stables and possibly the general store will go through the same process.

Haskin's father, who lived on the property for a time, says he expects at least some artifacts to be recovered.

"That time that I was here with grandma I could have went out to the ditch and found a bunch of what they are looking for you know back in them days when people moved they just threw the stuff away they never thought it was going to be valuable," says Jimmie Haskin.

Haskin also has plans to build a museum on the site, containing some of the artifacts he hopes to find in the ground.

Online Reporter: Forrest Saunders

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