Cultural Resource Management Service Across The Rocky Mountain West

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.

Project Photos