On the morning of July 19, 2012, at the Fort Clark State Historic Site on the western side of the upper Missouri
River in North Dakota, Mark Mitchell took time to describe the archaeology and systematic excavations that had taken place up to that point in time. Due to advances in technology — geophysics, and more specifically remote sensing, geomagnetic, electrical resistivity, electromagnetic induction, ground penetrating radar, among others — contemporary archaeology, or “techno-archaeology,” allows for archaeologists to garner a glimpse of what had gone on underneath the ground surface before they punch holes in the said ground. It takes an art and artist, though, to manipulate the controls of these devices and read and interpret the results. The results, in turn, allow archaeologists to drop excavation units down on focused areas, and some of the interpretive results of that are below.
The goal of this project is to discern whether or not the anomalies reflected by the geophysics are part of the broader North American fur trade that characterized much of the first half of the nineteenth-century. Mark explains how this archaeology may be the Fort Clark fur trading post built by James Kipp (note: temps on July 19, 2012 reached 101° F, or 38.3° C — nonetheless, the archaeology pushed on-ward):