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Integrating Ethnohistory and Archaeology at Fort Clark State Historic Site, North Dakota

  • W. Raymond Wood (a1)

A two-year mapping project at Fort Clark State Historic Site produced a 15-cm contour map of the Native American (Mandan and Arikara) earthlodge village and a planimetric map of that part of the historic district that lies above the Missouri River flood plain. Aerial photography and ground-level transit mapping detected more than 2,200 surface features at the site, including 86 earthlodges, 2 fur-trading posts, hundreds of storage and grave pits, and Euroamerican and Native American roads and trails. More than 80 percent of the site as mapped lies outside the fortification ditch of the Mandan/Arikara village. When we are trying to determine the potential impact on sites such as this one of such activities as nearby road construction, our recommendations must consider the broader context of the site, not simply the narrow spectrum provided by the settlement core area. A buffer zone as presently exists at Fort Clark is not only necessary to preserve its visual integrity but also to preserve the record of the activities that took place in its immediate vicinity.


Un proyecto topográfico de dos años en el sitio histórico estatal en Fort Clark dio como resultado un plano de contornos de 15 centímetros de las viviendas en las aldeas indígenas americanas Mandan y Ankara, y un mapa planimétrico de esa parte del distrito histórico que yace sobre los llanos del Río Misuri. Con la ayuda de fotografía aŕea y topografia se detectaron más de 2.200 rasgos en la superficie de dicho sitio, los cuales incluyen 86 viviendas, 2 postas de intercambio de pieles, cientos de pozos de almacenaje y tumbas, y caminos y senderos nativos así como los de americanos de origen europeo. Se sabe que no menos del 80 por ciento del sitio, de acuerdo al piano, yace fuera de la trinchera de fortificación de la aldea Mandan/Arikara. Cuando tratamos de determinar el potencial impacto de actividades como la construcción de caminos cercanos en sitios como éste, nuestra recomendación debe tomar en cuenta el contexto más amplio del sitio y no sólo el estrecho espectro que el núcleo del área poblada provee. Una zona de amortiguamiento como la que existe actualmente en Fort Clark es necesaria para conservar no sólo su integridad visual sino también el registro de las actividades que ocurrieron en su vecindad inmediata

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
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