Archaeologists are scrambling to survey a portion of the famous Little Bighorn National Battlefield before erosion sweeps the land into an oxbow on the Little Bighorn River.
“We needed to find out if there was anything there before it’s gone,” Kate Hammond, National Park Service superintendent at the 1876 battlefield, tells Lorna Thackeray of the Billings Gazette, here.
So [Hammond] called in archaeologist Douglas Scott, an old battlefield hand who has supervised most of the archaeology projects here since the early 1980s. Scott, who is retired from the Park Service, and a team of archaeologists and volunteers scoured the endangered oxbow and two others Monday through Wednesday to determine whether the sites played a role in the clash between the 7th U.S. Cavalry and an alliance of Sioux and Cheyenne.
So far, the finds include two 1960s-era beer cans, a couple of quarters from the 1980s and a handful of .22 cartridges.
“Mostly what we’ve found is modern trash,” Scott said Tuesday. “Nothing battle-related.”
Among other things, they’re looking for clues to the so-called “Lost Company,” described in Indian accounts as survivors of the battle who fled into a ravine, only to be killed by warriors who found them there.
No one has ever found their remains.
Tags: 7th Cavalry, buffalo post, Cheyenne Tribe, Gwen Florio, Little Bighorn National Battlefield, Little Bighorn River, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, National Park Service, Native American history, Native American news, Sioux