Fort Missoula Data Recovery Excavation

Western Cultural Inc. conducted a data recovery project for the Missoula Parks and Recreation Department at Fort Missoula, Missoula, Montana. The project focused on three areas located on the grounds of Fort Missoula. The first site that was excavated was that of a small trash deposit used until the 1880s, the second a Post Bakery used in the last quarter of the 1800s, and the location of a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Warehouse used in the 1930s and early 1940s. Additional excavations were also done around the cement foundation of an old building of which the original function is unknown. Oral histories have suggested it may have been a guardhouse or paint storage shed. Information recovered during excavation did not indicate its function. The excavation units recovered approximately 16,000 individual artifacts, including artifacts related to the four excavation areas from time periods spanning from Fort Missoula's military occupation from the late 1800s to the middle of the 20th century. The historical record indicated the potential locations of the CCC Warehouse and Post Bakery structures. The Trash Deposit was located using magnetometer and infrared photography. Artifacts from the Trash Deposit excavations did not follow the law of superpositioning, like those from the Post Bakery and CCC Warehouse excavations. The lateral and horizontal displacement of artifacts from the Trash Deposit indicates that the area is within a plowzone. The data recovery project depicts the history of the Fort and sheds light into the intricacies of daily Fort operation.


CCC Warehouse north wall feature, facing east, Fort MissoulaCCC Warehouse north wall feature, facing west.  Sue Knudsen talking with volunteer Kermit Edmonds in  the background, Fort Missoula.CCC Warehouse north wall feature and surrounding excavation  units, facing northeast, Fort MissoulaDon Merrit working on field notes in the early morning at the  trash deposit site, Fort Missoula.Eric Fredlund (foreground) and John Damon (background)  working on excavations at the Trash Deposit site, Fort Missoula.Eric Fredlund filling out an excavation unit form at the  Trash Deposit site, Fort Missoula.From left to right, John Fielding, John Damon, Eric Fredlund, Don Merrit, and Sue Knudsen working on excavations at the Trash Deposit site, Fort Missoula.From left to right Jen Ogborn, Sue Knudsen, and Don Merrit working on excavations at the Post Bakery site, Fort Missoula.From left to right Sue Knudsen, Don Merrit  Eric Fredlund, and John Damon working on excavations at the Trash Deposit site, Fort Missoula.From left to right Sue Knudsen, Jen Ogborn, Don Merrit, and John Damon working on excavations in the early morning at the  Post Bakery site, Fort Missoula.John Damon (left) and John Fielding (right) working on  excavations at the Trash Deposit site, Fort Missoula.Sue Knudsen and Don Merrit working on excavations from the  CCC Warehouse site, Fort Missoula.Sue Knudsen screening for artifacts, Fort Missoula.Sue Knudsen sreening for artifacts at the CCC Warehouse site, Fort Missoula.

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