Friends Of The Little Bighorn Battlefield

The Next Generation In The Study Of Custer's Last Stand

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Friends Donates $10,000 For Archeological Assessment

Im very excited to bring you important news regarding our next project for the battlefield. Superintendent Kate Hammond suggested a project for the Friends board to consider. An internal review of  the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (LIBI) cultural resources program (everything LIBI does in terms of history, ethnography, cultural landscapes, collections, cultural resource management, and archeology) produced a list of priority activities. These are crucial for LIBI to make sound judgments on future efforts to maintain and protect the battlefield as well as interpret the story of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Kate Hammond concluded, One of these priorities was to complete an archeological overview and assessment of the battlefield. This document would provide an overview and synthesis of the archeological work done at the battlefield, the results, and suggest what we should be doing in archeology at the battlefield in the future. I believe this would help us synthesize what archeology tells us about the battle as well as have a more proactive and well-thought-out approach to future archeological needs at the battlefield.

Douglas Scott had produced a draft of that assessment but was not able to complete it before his retirement from the NPS Midwest Archeological Center (MWAC). After consulting with Mr. Scott and the regional office in Denver, Ms. Hammond believes Mr. Scott is the right person to hire and complete the assessment in full. I could not agree with her more. As you are probably well aware, he has led all the archeological digs at LIBI since May 1985 and recently with the road archeological survey in September 2004.

In an email Mr. Scott elaborated more on what this project entails:

The Little Bighorn archeological overview and assessment is the basic element of a parks archeological resources management program. It is an archeological research report produced for the park and the first step in determining the requirements for future research. The overview and assessment summarizes the culture history of the region; lists, describes, and evaluates its known archeological resources; describes and evaluates past research related to the park and its history; outlines relevant research topics; and provides recommendations for future research. Maps and other illustration will document all the locations where archeological excavations and inventories have taken place over the years.

I have no doubt that this assessment is critical for LIBI to make correct decisions with any future archeological research. Im elated that the Friends board agreed with me and voted unanimously to support this project in full by promising $10,000.00 which will provide Doug Scott the necessary resources to complete the assessment.

Mr. Scott is not able to give me a start date as of yet, but the time estimated to complete the study and write a final report is about six months. Friends plans to make a copy of the report available for sale in the visitor center bookstore and for order online. The final content of that published report will be determined by the NPS.

Ive asked Mr. Scott to provide an introduction explaining in more detail about this project for our next newsletter. Meanwhile, we will continue to keep our membership updated of his progress with this project.

Id like to thank our members for their continued support of Friends in helping LIBI manage and protect the battlefield. If youd like to contribute towards this archeological assessment, you can donate online at or send a check or money order to Friends at P.O. Box 636, Crow Agency, MT 59022. Please, no cash in the mail. Jump here to donate.

Friends now carves the trail for the NPS to travel in its development of future archeological studies at the battlefield.

Friends Donates Additional $3,500.00 For Three More Projects

  • Chief Curator Sharon Small requested $300.00 for materials to construct platforms to place some of the archived collections storage cabinets off the floor in case of an accidental water leak. The same donation also provides for materials to construct shelves to properly store the paintings that are currently leaning against each other.

  • $2,400.00 to fund one teacher as part of the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher (TRT) program started last year in the NPS. The teacher selected was Tom Smith of Greeley, Colorado. Mr. Smith spent two months at LIBI working in all the divisions. The following April, he will wear the NPS uniform at school and share with his class some of the experiences he had while working at LIBI. TRT is a great way to instill an appreciation of the NPS and its programs with students. Mr. Smith will write a report about his experience for the Friends newsletter.

  • Chief Historian John Doerner requested $800.00 to replace the batteries that power his electric cart. He uses this small vehicle to transport himself around the Monument. The final cost for the batteries totaled $600.00. The surplus will remain in the LIBI general fund which well apply towards a future project.

All of the projects we supported in 2009 totaled $13,350.00. That surpasses all of our previous annual donations.

Warm Regards,

Bob Reece

August 20, 2009

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