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Little Bighorn River Oxbow Survey

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In the spring of 2010, Friends board member Mike Semenock attended a meeting at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (LIBI). While at the battlefield, retired Chief Archeologist Dr. Douglas Scott and Superintendent Kate Hammond shared with Mike their concerns over the possible changes in the “natural process of a meandering river evolution on the Little Bighorn River” and its affect on an oxbow near the mouth of the Deep Ravine. It is possible the river would cut through the oxbow leaving it outside the Monument’s boundaries.

Doug suggested an archeological survey be conducted on the oxbow and retrieve any artifacts that might be found. Doug proposed using metal detection: pulse induction. This relatively new technique fires a high-voltage pulse of electrical signal into the ground and is effective to a depth of three feet or so. LIBI would contribute funds for the survey but was still short $5,000. Mike asked the Friends board to donate that amount, which was approved, and ensured the survey would take place the following July.

This archeologoical survey was conducted in just a few days and required only a small team of five individuals. Time also permitted the team to conduct a quick survey on certain parts of the battlefield to further test pulse induction.

Dr. Scott has provided his final report, "Investigating the Oxbows and Testing Metal Detector Efficiency at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana" which you can read by selecting from the navigation button near top right.

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