Archaeology’s Contributions to the Lewis and Clark Trail


Archaeology has faced specific hard eventualities in working out campsites on the trail, on the other hand has benefited from recent advances in era. Unlike a Civil War battlefield or a talk over with to a historic antebellum area, the expedition’s direction yields very little physically evidence. Lewis and Clark campsites have been tricky to validate, because the explorers left few traces. In 2004, the authors of Lewis and Clark, Legacies, Memories, and New Perspectives, had a dismal view of archaeology’s serve as inside the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. I

This article will paint a brighter symbol thru reviewing the literature thus far to find one of the most a very powerful somewhat recent traits in archaeology of the trail. It makes a speciality of internet sites in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and the Columbia River Basin and in Washington at Station Camp. It may additionally highlight new scientific tactics used to seek out campsites and uncover how the ones findings have helped save a couple of of those internet sites from destruction.

The National Park Service has always supported archaeological investigation and advocated for preservation of the trail. Their internet web page lists efforts throughout the Lewis and Clark Trail Commission, the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation Inc. and other public and private organizations that have tried to seek out and stay the trail. Modern Americans can see just a few places on the trail as Lewis and Clark spotted them. The NPS internet web page has photos that show additional pristine views of a number of the internet sites.

NPS lists internet sites in Montana and other states an identical to Site 32, Fort Mandan, and Site 34, Fort Clatsop which will also be archaeologically similar. ii

Sites in Montana that have had some archaeological investigation include:

Site 3, Lemhi Pass; Site 4, Lolo Trail; Site14, Beaverhead Rock State Park; Site 15, Bozeman Pass; Site 16, Buffalo Jump at Arrow Creek; Site 17, Camp Disappointment; Site 18, Junction of the Marias and Missouri Rivers; Site 19, Gates of The Mountains; Site 20, Great Falls Portage; Site 21, Lewis and Clark Pass; Site 22, Lewis’s combat with the Blackfeet Site; Site 23, Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument; Site 24, Pompey’s Pillar; Site 25, Rattlesnake Cliffs; Site 26, Ross Hole; Site 27, Three Forks of the Missouri; and website 28, Traveler’s Rest. iii

Buffalo Jump, Traveler’s Rest, and the lower Great Falls Portage Site were specifically rewarding for archaeologists.

Buffalo Jump at Arrow Creek

In the gorgeous White Cliffs segment of the Missouri Breaks, the folks of the Lewis and Clark Expedition were nearly no doubt the main U.S. citizens to seem and file a buffalo jump website where the needless animals were however in place. On May 29, 1805, on the westbound journey, the Lewis and Clark Expedition discovered this type of jump. It was on the north side of the Missouri along the ground of a 120-foot-high cliff that were given right here just about to the water’s edge. The men spotted and smelled the carcasses of more than 100 needless and rotting buffalo, which wolves were devouring.

The website was identified in 1963 as 24CH240 thru a team from the Missouri Basin Inter-Agency Archeological Salvage Program, which surveyed internet sites in this part of the river. The salvage team found out most efficient two pieces of bone fragments, some others of which the non-public owner had moreover spotted. iv

internet web page 2

Traveler’s Rest

At Traveler’s Rest, inside the 1990’s, aerial infrared footage showed evidence of tepee rings. Historical research matched coordinates of latitude and longitude recorded thru Lewis and Clark to the an identical Lolo Creek location. Dan Hall and others used magnetometer equipment to go looking out changes inside the magnetic houses of the soils. They moreover found out fire-cracked rock, charcoal, and a cast puddle of lead. These findings indicate that this spot suffered intense heat believed to be the result of a large, military-style cook dinner dinner hearth. They knew that the expedition melted down their empty lead powder canisters to make musket balls, thus the puddle of lead.

Sites in several states discussed in this article include Site 32, Fort Mandan, and Site 34, Fort Clatsop. Archaeologists later found out signs {{that a}} trench have been dug about 300 ft from the hearth area, in keeping with Army regulations these days governing the location of latrines. Tests with a mercury vaporizer confirmed the presence of mercury inside the trench and not inside the surrounding soil. Lewis had well-known in his mag that a minimum of two of the boys were ill at the moment inside the journey and gained drugs, which contained ample amounts of mercury that may pass throughout the body and keep at the website. v These medication, known as Dr. Rush’s Thunder Clappers were sixty % mercury, which does not decompose.

These discoveries were important on account of this area was surrounded thru a all of a sudden rising residential area, and the campsite was designated one of the most a very powerful nation’s most endangered historic places in 1999. That notoriety helped attract a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, allowing achieve of 15 acres believed to be the middle of the campsite. vi

Lower Portage Site of the Great Falls

Also inside the 1990’s, at the Lower Portage Site of the Great Falls of the Missouri River in Montana, Dr. Ken Karsmizki studied one of the most a very powerful areas, marked throughout the remains of 12 fires. The explorers’ journals tell of 12 days spent at this camp. Three of the fires were found out in a similar fashion spaced in a line, suggesting an organized campsite. Archaeomagnetic dates from the charred remains are in keeping with a Lewis and Clark career. They moreover radiocarbon dated a broken-off wooden stake uncovered upright inside the soil to 1810 ± 40, and bison bones from the website to 1810 ± 50. Members of the C of D celebration in a position a large quantity of dried fish, meat, and pemmican (dried bison meat combined with fat), while camping at Great Falls. Karsmizki added a fifth website, one that he was once hoping would yield remains of a collapsible iron-frame boat that the celebration abandoned at the Upper Portage of the Great Falls on account of they lacked materials–pine pitch and needles for sewing hides together–necessary for making the vessel watertight. vii

Articles about archaeology of campsites in We Proceeded On include the search for the elusive Iron Boat, the Yellowstone Canoe Camp, the Fort Mandan Site in North Dakota, and the search for Camp Wood/ Camp Dubois, merely outside of St. Louis. While the search for the Iron Boat thru Ken Karsmizki is fascinating and gained letters to the editor, it is a lot too involved for this article. The be in agreement gained at Great Falls from NASA it will be discussed later.

The Yellowstone Canoe Camp is worth revisiting on account of recent traits. The article thru Ken Karsmizki, in WPO, vol. 21 no. 4, “Searching for the Invisible, Some Efforts to Find Expedition Camps,” is a powerful discussion of the difficulties archaeologists have encountered as late as 1995. It may be an excellent analysis of the archaeology to that point. The lack of particular data inside the notebooks, the changing procedure rivers, historic fires and floods, poorly drawn maps, and erosion, recent intrusions on the land, and the unreliability of local informants were problems at all of the excavation internet sites, not to indicate assets and funding.

Despite the problems encountered, the writer remains positive that archaeology will in any case take the traditional data out of the arena of history and folklore and ground them in matter subject matter truth.viii

internet web page 3

Yellowstone Canoe Camp

The camp on Yellowstone River Island is a place being investigated since the conceivable website of Clark’s July 1806 canoe camp. Archaeologist Tom Rust began research on the island in 2011 when historian and cartographer Ralph Saunders glad Rust that he had located the canoe website. His know about of the original maps, historic surveys and aerial footage made him sure that his calculations had found out the website even if eight other internet sites have been considered for the camp along a 12-mile stretch of the river between Columbus and Park City.

Rust investigated the island with a magnetometer and soil resistance meter to guage soil disturbances and compaction. The hope was that the surveying might disclose out of date campfire internet sites, a latrine, butchering area and even pathways packed down as the boys moved around the campsite. Their efforts were rewarded once they had plenty of metal detector hits and positioned a perfectly round lead ball believed to be buckshot. Isotope analysis matched an artifact from Traveler’s Rest. They moreover found out mercury deposits in latrine pits, which matched what have been found out at Traveler’s Rest. A belt buckle and a bone discovered within the an identical area at the an identical depth and a couple of lead next to what gave the look of a hearth pit, which tested with a an appropriate date range, were further evidence that this was the Canoe Camp.

This website is environmentally crowd pleasing on account of Yellowstone River had moved considerably. Luckily, when the river moved, even forming a brand spanking new channel and then jumping once more another time, the island seems to have been spared from destructive floodwaters that may have washed away any evidence of the expedition. ix

Cougar Rapids Bar

On their way back space in May of 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition camped with reference to Kamiah taking a look ahead to the snow to melt inside the Bitterroot Mountains. Meriwether Lewis sent Sergeant John Ordway and two other men to the Snake River on this trail to trade for salmon with the Nez Perce – foods sought after for their mountain crossing. Ordway wrote regarding the side travel in his journals. “We passed a large lodge and descended the worst hills we ever spotted a freeway made down,” the journals be told. And of their arrival inside the village, “At period they invited us in, spread robes for us to sit on, and set roasted salmon faster than us and a couple of of their white bread which they known as ‘uppah’. This lodge is 100 ft long and twenty ft huge and all in one.”

State Archaeologist Dr. Ken Reid with the Idaho State Historical Society headed the undertaking to investigate a website at Cougar Rapids Bar. They found out the depression of the lodge and the slope where they have got been nearly no doubt in a position while the fish were in a position. Using high-tech equipment to look underneath the out of doors, Dr. Reid’s team mapped the rim of the multi-family space and the hearths, or fireplaces, operating down the middle. Dr. Reid and his team dug small take a look at pits inside the hearth and the raised mound on one side of the house, and positioned artifacts – with carbon dates once more to the early 1800s. They moreover found out a part of a blue glass bead, two brass tacks, and a tiny arrowhead. This evidence blended with Ordway’s mag descriptions of the village, plus other research on the conceivable routes to the Snake River, make Dr. Reid very confident that’s the position Ordway and his men stayed two nights purchasing and promoting for salmon. x

The internet sites of Rock Fort and Station Camp, and Fort Clatsop on the far west portion of the trail also have had new have traits. Karsmizki’s showed method is an extended painstaking technique of map and mag analysis, geophysical survey and interpretation, take a look at excavation and if warranted intensive excavation, and laboratory analysis. This analysis accommodates dendrochronology, radiocarbon courting, archaeomagnetic courting, lead isotope analysis, and faunal analysis at a large number of laboratories inside the United States and Canada. NASA and the United States Air Force have helped in this search.

internet web page 4

Rock Fort

In an interview with an Oregon reporter, John Compton in July of 2010, Ken Karsmizki discussed his research at Rock Fort and NASA’s be in agreement with the undertaking. He well-known that the Corps of Discovery’s calculations of latitude were not right kind, and maps of the an identical area were different. He mentioned, “They (C of D) wrote about 1,000,000 words in their journals, on the other hand Nine reporters would see problems in numerous tactics specifically distances. People changed their ideas mid-stream as to environmental choices. The an identical issue happened all over the place they went.” Karsmizki had to see the improvement of the maps and check out the details. NASA presented to be in agreement with Four satellites to use sensors to make maps of The Dalles now, which they’ll superimpose over Lewis, and Clark’s map. What matched up was Mill Creek and the monetary establishment of the Columbia River. They then used ground-penetrating radar and put thirty-six holes in a grid inside the area they concept was the website. When no longer anything else was located, they moved their efforts into Three depressions, on account of Clark had written that they’ve been in an artificial fort made thru rock walls they generally feared attack. The area was graveled and had seven ft of fill on best possible of the traditional ground. Sill they have got been in a position to find a dog skull and strips of leather.

Unfortunately, the Columbia River has only one website, Rock Fort, which is not now underwater on account of dams. It is located in The Dalles, with reference to Union Street underpass and is in public arms. It was a excellent location because it did not have any building on it, and the fill protecting could have preserved it for excavation. xi

NASA blended precision satellite tv for pc television for computer imagery with detailed historic maps to be in agreement Karsmizki in finding campsites. In some cases, the era can cut back a imaginable dig website from plenty of sq. miles to a query of acres. NASA’s Earth Science Applications Directorate provided the pictures to Karsmizki and his team. Marco Giardino, ESAD’s appearing deputy director at Stennis, mentioned NASA scientists might create a 360-degree view of the arena where the explorers traveled and archaeologists might get the an identical view as they might from an aircraft. Color is extremely essential to find historic internet sites. For example, a slight difference inside the color of wheat in a large field may indicate the location of an outpost. xii

Station Camp Fort Vancouver

The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery spent merely 10 days proper right here in 1805. Historians known as the spot “Station Camp” because it was Lieutenant William Clark’s primary survey station to offer an intensive and right kind map of the mouth of the Columbia River and surrounding area. Dr. Wilson, since the fundamental investigator built-in plenty of scientific tactics into the research design with the intention to establish the website’s chronology and get additional data from the artifacts, at the side of Carbon-14 courting, ground penetrating radar, magnetometer analysis, and isotope analyses. Dr. Wilson is an archaeologist for the Pacific West Regional Office of the National Park Service, founded utterly at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. He was moreover the main liaison with the Native American tribes who have ancestral claims to the website of Middle Village. He gained the John Cotter award for his artwork. John Cotter was one of the most a very powerful founding fathers of historic archaeology inside the United States. xiii

His artwork was environmentally important to the trail on account of his research was the basis for park interpretive traits at Station Camp / Middle Villages and a undertaking, which involved the Chinook Nation, the State of Washington, and the National Park Service. He moreover involved students and most of the people, thus increasing awareness of the importance of the website to history.

internet web page 5

Fort Clatsop

Fort Clatsop, with reference to the Columbia River about Five miles south of present-day Astoria, was the 1805 wintry climate encampment of the 33-member Corps of Discovery and the main physically evidence of the U.S. on the Pacific coast in step with Stephen Beckham, a historian at Lewis and Clark College. The fort went immediately to transform necessary to the U.S. claims on the space.

Occupied for just a bit more than Three months, the original fort was nearly no doubt burned inside the 1850s to make means for a pioneer’s garden. In 1955, the area people built a reproduction of Fort Clatsop (named after a space tribe) to have a great time the expedition’s 150th anniversary. In 2005 Fort Clatsop, burned to the ground another time just a month faster than Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebrations were scheduled to begin out at the website.

A federal arson investigation found out that the reconstructed Fort Clatsop was the victim of an accidental hearth started thru a stray ember from a operating hearth. The investigators may be forgiven for momentarily making an allowance for archaeologists as suspects. Though some excavation was performed at the website of the encampment inside the 1950s, the destruction of the replica has now given National Park Service archaeologist Doug Wilson a possibility to accurately excavate the website using stylish methods, at the side of a ways flung sensing. His body of workers has already pinpointed about 20 % of the website not disturbed throughout the concrete foundation of the reconstructed fort, at the side of plenty of deep pits stuffed with charcoal, the conceivable remains of holes dug for the fort’s stockade. “We turned into this tragedy into a real selection,” says Wilson. xiv

NASA was moreover all in favour of this website. Satellite data included 30-meter Landsat Thematic Mapper and 1-meter Space Imaging IKONOS data xv

NASA Changing the Face of the West and Archaeological Research

The objective of the NASA scientists and other researchers operating on a definite undertaking for the bicentennial was to piece jointly satellite tv for pc television for computer and aircraft a ways flung sensing imagery with the intention to create precision 3-d maps and visualizations of the Lewis and Clark trail and stopover campsites and to offer plenty of satellite tv for pc television for computer imagery available on the Internet. In addition to archaeological investigations, landscape keep watch over objectives include evaluating the effects of wildland hearth disturbance regimes on ecosystems, monitoring wetlands trade, measuring town expansion, tracking noxious and invasive weeds, and mapping vegetative mosaics for key Lewis and Clark encampments an identical to Fort Clatsop (wintry climate 1805-1806).

The trail undertaking was complex through a NASA Space Act Agreement, sexy the talents of GCS Research, a geospatial knowledge era company in Missoula, Montana and the Montana State University (MSU) TechLink Center. “The lasting price of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery expedition is inside the journals and maps that they created. They represent a snapshot inside the natural history of North America, 200 years previously. The NASA a ways flung sensing data gadgets represent every other snapshot in time,” mentioned Weston, Technology Manager of the MSU TechLink Center. xvi

In 2003, NASA, GCS Research and its era partners were building segment one of the most a very powerful Lewis and Clark Geosystem, which includes a a ways flung sensing geodatabase of blended assets from plenty of reward geospatial assets for the Lewis and Clark Trail. DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird imagery was included inside the raster catalogue of the Lewis and and Clark. xvii

internet web page 6

Another product complex right through the Lewis and Clark undertaking was the virtual and right kind rendering of plenty of historic Corps of Discovery internet sites, specifically Fort Clatsop. These virtual products enhanced scientific research and served to train and inform most of the people regarding the undertaking and its results. By the conclusion of the undertaking, thirty different NASA space borne a ways flung sensing datasets were processed. Hyperspectral data supplies new possible choices for longer term archaeological discoveries. Hyperspectral imaging divides the spectrum into many additional bands than the human eye can come across. The objective of hyperspectral imaging is to procure the spectrum for every pixel inside the image of a scene, with the purpose of finding devices, working out provides, or detecting processes.

Remote sensing era and image analysis are at the moment reward procedure a profound shift in emphasis from huge classification to detection, id and state of affairs of particular provides, every herbal and inorganic.

These new technologies offer archaeologists a lot more possible choices for research and analysis. One conceivable area where hyperspectral data may also be very valuable is phytoarchaeology, which is printed since the analysis of courting between vegetation and archaeology. Three particular areas of phytoarchaeology can a perfect deal benefit from hyperspectral imagery:

1) The id of particular plant species which will also be associated with archaeological internet sites;

2) Comparative plant frame construction or the collection of plant pressure or vigor; and

3) Creation of a vegetation variability index.xviii

Travelers following the Corps of Discovery are looking for the experience. Fresonke and Spence in Lewis and Clark, Legacies, Memories, and New Perspectives particular this totally. “They are not arriving at a single tourist holiday spot; as a substitute they are encountering an absolutely new landscape not visible from jets or four-lane highways… Following the captains’ direction is a private voyage of discovery, a tourist odyssey linking landscape and history as described throughout the Lewis and Clark journals.”xix

Now a couple of years later the trail is another time being preferred for the sweetness and beauty that Lewis and Clark spotted in it. As Ken Karsmizki was once hoping in his 1995 article for We Proceeded On, archaeological research has carried out a very powerful serve as in keeping up the trail thru working out campsites and providing scientific proof for their matter subject matter life. Archaeologists have not most efficient difficult the career of historic archaeology with the assistance of recent era and NASA, on the other hand have helped the National Park Service and a number of other public and private organizations to reclaim the trail for longer term generations of trail explorers.

I Kris Fresonke and Mark Spence, Lewis and Clark, Legacies, Memories, and New Perspectives, (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2004) 247.

ii Lewis and Clark, Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings, National Park Service

iii Montana Archaeology: A Public Book Project on the Archaeology of Montana, Lewis and Clark and Archaeology, Feb. 7, 2009. (Source: Dr. Dee Taylor’s Lectures; Vol. 3, no. 2 Archaeology in Montana “Short History of Montana Archaeology,”)

iv Ibid.

v Kathleen A. Dahl, “The Archaeology of Traveler’s Rest,” Trail Watch, An instructional weblog exploring the interpretation of the Lewis and Clark expedition and bicentennial in museums, historic internet sites, interpretive amenities, and standard media.

vi Sherry Devlin, “Researchers Pinpoint Exact Location of Traveler’s Rest – Lewis and Clark Campsite was incorrectly mapped years previously,” Missoulian, Jan26, 2004.

vii Jessica E. Saraceni, “Searching for Lewis and Clark,” Archaeology 51 no. 1, (Jan./Feb. 1998)

internet web page 7

viii Kenneth W. Karsmizki, “Searching for the Invisible: Some Efforts to Find Expedition Camps,” We Proceeded On 21, no. 4 (Nov. 1995): 4-12.

ix Brett French, “Evidence Builds that Yellowstone Island was Clark’s 1806 Canoe Camp,” Billings Gazette, April 27, 2014. ind First Physical Link in Idaho to Lewis & Clark in Hell’s Canyon,” Courtesy of, May 6, 2008.

xi Kenneth W. Karsmizki, “Lewis and Clark Rock Fort,” Localite (segment Three of 3) July, 2010.

xii “Nasa Satellite will search for Lewis and Clark Stops,” USA Today Health and Science, 9/20/2001

xiii”Dr. Wilson receives 2011 Cotter Award,” Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, April 4, 2011,

xiv “Insider: Fortunate Fire,” Archaeology 59 no. 1, (Jan./Feb. 2006)

xv Kenneth W. Karsmizki, Joe Spruce, Marco Giardino, “Archaeological Remote Sensing: Searching for Fort Clatsop from Space” July 30, 2002, Nasa Technical Reports Server.

xvi Leonard David, “Lewis & Clark Revisited: Satellite Archeology Digs Out The Past,” GeoCommunity, Jan 2002,

xvii Alex Philip, “GCS Research and DigitalGlobe Partner on Lewis and Clark Geosystem Project,” Directions Magazine,April 23, 2003.

xviii Marco J. Giardino, “A history of NASA a ways flung sensing contributions to archaeology,” Journal of Archaeological Science, 38 (2011) 2003-2009.

xix Fresonke and,Spence, 240.

Possible photos that can be included at slightly a large number of problems inside the article.

Landsat Five and black and white historic aerial {photograph} with Lewis and Clark trail line. Blend of images show changes in Missouri River with reference to Desoto National Wildlife Refuge North of Omaha. IMAGE CREDIT: GCS Research

One of the earliest extant pictures of Rainbow Falls, which was 2nd in top most efficient to the Great Falls inside the choice of Five in this part of the river. This view captures the untamed aspect of the country, as a result of it’ll must have gave the impression in 1805-6. (Montana Historical Society.)

This symbol of Rainbow Falls, taken in 1944, contrasts sharply with the one above. Just upstream from the falls is the Montana Power Company dam. In the summer season and dry months of the 12 months, far a lot much less water comes over the falls than is confirmed proper right here and large portions of the rock ledge of the falls are bare and devoid of the beauty of white, falling water. (Montana Power Company (1944).)

When little water is introduced thru Ryan Dam, inside the background, the Great Falls dwindles to a trickle. (National Park Service (Appleman, 1964).)

Lewis and Clark, Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings, National Park Service

Article Source Link thru Sylvia Andrews