Archeology is the study of human culture, technology, and behavior based on the review and analysis of artifacts, architecture, and environmental data that past people have left behind. Research findings enable archaeologists to speak about culture development and change through time. Park archeologists utilize various methods such as survey, careful excavation, GPS technology, and ground penetrating radar to show how people in the past used the landscape. They also rely on the knowledge of tribal members, early miners and homesteaders, and park employees.
Archeologists in Glacier National Park have recovered evidence of past peoples ranging from artifacts such as prehistoric projectile points and stone net sinkers to features like culturally scarred trees and abandoned homesteads. The first archeological investigations at the Little Bighorn Battlefield took place in 1958. It wasn’t until 1984-85 that a large-scale inventory project took place at the monument following a grassland fire that burned off the vegetation. These surveys, and numerous since, have aided in uncovering new information about the positions and movements of participants throughout the battle as well as recovered approximately 6,000 artifacts.
All of these archeological findings, and those yet to be found, are critical in revealing how we are connected to our past.