River Basin Surveys Papers, No. 9: Archeological Investigations in the Heart Butte Reservoir Area North Dakota

Author(s): Paul L. Cooper

Year: 1954


The investigations upon which this report is based were carried out as a part of the inter-agency salvage program in the Missouri Basin and reflect the cooperation of a number of agencies and individuals. The work was instigated by the plan of the Bureau of Reclamation to construct the Heart Butte Dam, a unit of the comprehensive water-resources development program under the Pick-Sloan plan. The dam, now completed, is on the Heart River south of Glen Ullin, North Dakota., and is designed to create a reservoir of almost 11,000 acres at its maximum elevation of 2,118.2 feet above mean sea level. In August of 1946, J. Joseph Bauxar and the writer, archeologists with the Smithsonian Institution River Basin Surveys, spent 2 days in reconnaissance of a small part of the area that would be flooded if the proposed Heart Butte Dam was constructed. Only a few sites were recorded, but one of these, the Koehler site, was deemed sufficiently important to require intensive investigation. Rather exhaustive excavation of this site and additional survey of the reservoir were recommended in an appraisal report.2 In 1947, under an agreement with the Smithsonian Institution, the University of North Dakota Field Session in Archaeology, cosponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota, devoted a week, June 25 to July 1, to the Heart Butte Reservoir area. The party of 8, supervised by Dr. Gordon W. Hewes, excavated 8 test pits, each 5 feet square, in the Koehler site and found a few previously unrecorded sites in the vicinity. The limited tests in the Koehler site confirmed the earlier judgment that full-scale excavation would be worth while. In 1948, with the dam already under construction, limited funds were available for further investigations there by the Smithsonian Institution. These funds were far less than the amount recommended as necessary for an adequate sampling of the archeological remains that were to be destroyed, and permitted only 7 weeks in the field with a party of from 2 to 4 individuals. Approximately 12 man-days were devoted to reconnaissance, 2 man-days to the investigation of a rock shelter near the dam site, and the remainder of the time to work in the Koehler site. The little more than 100 man-days spent in excavation, recording, mapping, and refilling trenches at this site represent about 20 percent of the original estimate of the time that would be required for investigation on a desirable scale.

Cite this Record

River Basin Surveys Papers, No. 9: Archeological Investigations in the Heart Butte Reservoir Area North Dakota. Paul L. Cooper. Smithsonian Institution: Bureau of American Ethnology ,169. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. 1954 ( tDAR id: 376668) ; doi:10.6067/XCV84T6K69

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -101.971; min lat: 46.539 ; max long: -101.747; max lat: 46.644 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Sponsor(s): Smithsonian Institution

Record Identifiers

NADB Citation ID(s): 000000240194

River Basin Surveys Papers(s): 9

NADB Document ID (s): 5601736

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