Western Cultural conducted archaeological testing at 12 locations prior to interpretive sign installation at Fort Missoula in Missoula, Montana. The archaeological testing and subsequent report to the National Park Service was provided free to the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. The interpretive signs, made possible through the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program of the National Park Service, were installed by the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula at various locations around the Fort Missoula campus. The signs address the confinement period at the Fort. Archaeological testing was conducted to search for any historic artifacts at the proposed sign locations.
A total of 13 locations were tested, primarily through shovel testing, as well as two 50 x 50 centimeter excavation units in two of the areas. The two areas chosen for excavation were both areas of higher probability for encountering intact cultural deposits. The two locations included an area just outside the door of the late nineteenth century era root cellar and near the former location of the fence surrounding the World War II era internment camp.
Testing did not find any significant cultural deposits at any of the sign locations. A total of 47 artifacts were recovered, 36 of which were wire or cut nail fragments. The remaining artifacts were all small fragments of clear flat and clear bottle glass. No significant cultural resource deposits were located through testing that were likely to be impacted by the installation of the signs.
Western Cultural conducted the project as part of our Pro Bono Program. We recognize that all too often local historical societies and museums across Montana are faced with difficult situations and that professional assistance is beyond their reach. This effort is a simple acknowledgement of the important work that these institutions conduct in trying to preserve our heritage. We conduct these projects for no cost and the projects are selected by Western Cultural employees.