Western Cultural conducted a class III cultural resource inventory of approximately 73.5 miles of roads on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed lands for the Petrolia Travel Management Area. The BLM requested the Class III inventory as part of an effort to more thoroughly document cultural resources in travel management planning areas that have received minimal inventory in the past. The project area is located in Petroleum County in central Montana, within the administrative boundary of the Lewistown Field Office.
The BLM is in the early stages of planning for travel management areas. While the specifics of these actions are not currently known, the survey was nonetheless proactively undertaken to assess the nature and extent of historic properties of the environs to better facilitate future project development and lessen potential impacts to cultural properties. The survey relocated four previously recorded sites, two of which are Eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), 24PT0336, the Winnett Irrigation Ditch, and 24FR0408, the Wartzenluft Homestead. This historic homestead is currently being preserved and restored by the BLM.
The survey located fourteen new sites and eight isolated finds. The new sites include four rock cairns, three historic dump sites, three stock ponds and dams, one homestead, one tipi ring, one historic water improvement site, and the Winnett Wagon Road. Three of the rock cairns are recommended as Unevaluated, with one rock cairn, 24PT0795, recommended as Not Eligible, as it is of more recent origin. The tipi ring, 24PT0788, is listed as Unevaluated. Site 24PT0786, the Winnett Wagon Road, is recommended as Eligible. All other sites are recommended as Not Eligible.
The survey area consisted of defined roads and two track roads scattered across an area generally south of the Missouri River. Prior to conducting the field survey, Western Cultural conducted a file and literature search with the Montana State Historic Preservation Office. The online General Land Office plat maps and records were reviewed prior to the field work. Western Cultural also contacted Zane Fulbright, BLM Lewiston Field Office Archaeologist, before the field work began for any additional resources. Mr. Fulbright was also contacted during the field investigation to ensure that open lines of communication were maintained at all times.
The survey was conducted by Daniel S. Hall, principal investigator and Jay T. Vest, Brandon Bachman and Kelli Casias, archaeologists, September 11, 2018 through October 17, 2018. The field crews spaced transects 30 meters wide along both sides of the road throughout the project area. Archaeologists carried Magellan GPS units, digital cameras, site datum materials, tape measures, compass, blank site forms, field maps, photograph logs, field maps, site forms for previously recorded sites, and maintained daily field notes. The photograph logs recorded overview pictures of the project area, at least two photographs of resources located, and a description and compass orientation of the image taken. The daily field notes recorded observations about the field conditions, surface visibility, vegetation, geology, any cultural resources located in the survey and any problems, if any, that were encountered during the field work. No diagnostic artifacts were encountered during the survey, no artifacts were collected. Site sketch maps were prepared in the field for each resource located, the maps included the datum point, site boundary, north direction, scale, cultural features, concentrations of artifacts and individual artifacts.