ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE AT HAWLEY MOUNTAIN RANCH

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In the summer of 1972 graduate students of a field class in archeology at Montana State University set up a site in the lower meadow near the Boulder River on the Jarrett ranch property below Hawley Mountain. Bill Jarrett was in the process of constructing buildings that would become Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch.  While excavating dirt to construct a pond dam, Bill discovered items that looked to him like artifacts. Experts at MSU were contacted to evaluate the items, and the “Jarrett Site” was established in June. 

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 The buried deposits at the site appeared to be remnants of campsites occupied over a period of 8,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 12,000 years, and this area had not been disturbed by cultivation or by artifact collectors. Evacuations confirmed that this site had been occupied by hunters and gatherers of berries and seeds representing seven distinct prehistoric complexes. Each layer of excavation revealed various tools and remnants. Large quantities of wasted stone showed that the site had been used as a workshop through its history. Projectile points, knives, and scrapers indicated the killing and processing of big game animals. Skeleton remains of mostly bison, but bear, deer, elk, and mountain sheep, used as food sources were found at various levels at the site.

 The MSU students painstakingly worked at the site from June through August. During their seven week stay they lived in tents, occasionally catching trout in Boulder River as part of their diet.  The cool waters of the Boulder served as a refrigerator and also a source of "cooling off" on the hot summer days.  The students increased their awaremess of past man-land relationships while contributing to our knowledge of the early-day inhabitants of this mountain region.

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 Retracing the Flight of Historic Man

By Leslie B. Davis Assistant Curator

Anthropology and Archeology Museum of the Rockies