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One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…

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Micah Goodman

University of Montana

Fort Missoula Archaeological Field School

When two halves come together!

When two halves come together!

Last week, the crew uncovered an abundance of porcelain, as well as other types pottery, and even fragments of a pipe, possibly made of bone.  The saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” truly applies in a case such as this one.

Micah Goodman with an in-field "Mending Moment".

Micah Goodman with an in-field “Mending Moment”.

As the group seeks to put together pieces of the past in an effort to better paint a more realistic view, from a cultural standpoint, these mending moments can truly be considered a treasure trove.  With such an array of styles and patterns showing up at the dig site, the window into Fort Missoula’s past opens a bit more each day!

Dr. Kelly J. Dixon, Tommy Livoti, and Micah Goodman studying artifacts in the field.

Dr. Kelly J. Dixon, Tommy Livoti, and Micah Goodman studying artifacts in the field.

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Archaeology vs. Looting

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Archaeology Vs. Looting

Kristina Walters
Undergraduate Student

Dr. Kelly Dixon briefs the fall 2013 Archaeological Survey class prior to their ascension up the mountain to the mysterious undisclosed location in the Lolo National Forest. Dr. Dixon explained how it is possible to discern that this pit was not left over from their initial excavation because if archaeologists do dig a test pit, they employ the necessary methods to ensure the integrity of the pits sediment matrix is kept intact. It is sad, and infuriating, that careless individuals would potentially destroy a historic site in pursuit of loot. After this discovery, students measured the dimensions of this pointless pit in order to submit a report to the Forest Service as part of the site stewardship program.

Moonshine Production?

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Moonshine Production?

Kailin Hatlestad
Anthropology Graduate Student
Our survey class had the opportunity in late September to visit a site in the Lolo National Forest and the pleasure to be accompanied by the Lolo NF Archaeologist, Sydney Bacon. The site in question is assumed to be built due to a mining claim in the area, but the uniqueness of the layout and masonry suggest an alternate or additional use: moonshine production. More study is needed to confirm or deny this hypothesis, but it has potential.

The trek to the site permitted time for questions to form about what people were doing out in this terrain and why. Once reached, the rare layout was exciting to explore. Artifacts, features and ecofacts were located, identified and discussed. Unfortunately, looters disturbed the site in two locations. This discovery emphasized the importance of cultural resource protection and imparted to us some realities of archaeological work.

Pictograph Cave. Ayme Swartz, Erika Blecha, Marty Lopez

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Pictograph Cave.  Ayme Swartz, Erika Blecha, Marty Lopez

Our journey to eastern Montana brought us to Pictograph Cave, near Billings, Montana. Much of the research here is focused on the pictographs and atrifacts; while our research is exploring this as well, we are also taking a look at the archaeology of the archaeologists! The WPA first excavated this site in the 1930s.

Tongue River at Oévemanâhéno

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Tongue River at Oévemanâhéno

This beautiful photo was taken just east of Oévemanâhéno (Birney Day). Oévemanâhéno is located on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The University of Montana was asked to map cabins that were homes for several Northern Cheyenne members starting in 1900 and as recent as the 1970’s. This is recognized as the most traditional village on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

Mapping the long forgotten basement spaces of the Missoula Mercantile

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Mapping the long forgotten basement spaces of the Missoula Mercantile

The fall 2013 Archaeological Survey class has the opportunity to explore the depths of the basement in the famous Missoula Mercantile. In this photo, students are mapping an area which was once a possible mechanical room. In the archaeological world, the area in the lower left hand corner is known as a feature.