Native Sun News: Long Indian presence confirmed at Montana site

Some of the artifacts uncovered at the archaeological site in Montana. Photo by Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch

‘Jarrett’ archaeological dig proves 7,500 year old Indian culture in Montana
By Clara Caufield
Native Sun News Correspondent

McLEOD, Mont. –– People from all over the world come to the Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch located near the Gallatin National Forest along the banks of the Upper Boulder River about thirty miles, as the Crow flies, from Yellowstone Park. The main lodge overlooks a peaceful meadow at the base of Hawley Mountain which towers above. Human visitation to this pristine mountain spot is nothing new – archaeological evidence tells that Native people first began using this very same spot more than 7,500 years ago.

In 2017, the Jarrett family will celebrate 100 years of owning land in that area – one of the longest held private ranches. Yet, Ron and Phyllis Jarrett, current owners, modestly consider themselves recent newcomers to the Boulder river region.

“We are only the most recent in a long line of inhabitants of this area, who appreciate all it has to offer,” said Phyllis Jarret.

That is because of a 1972 archaeological exploration on the ranch, allowed by the Jarrett family. The site is listed as the “Jarrett” Archaeological Site in a number of periodicals and books, including Jerkline to Jeep, a Brief History of the Upper Boulder by Ruth Staunton and Dorothy Keur, 1975. That dig, conducted by Montana State University, yielded artifacts and other indisputable evidence that at least six prehistoric cultures inhabited and camped at the site going back at least 7,500 years.

“I personally think it is much older than that,” said Ron Jarrett. “They only scratched the surface and with today’s technology, much more could be learned.”

The story leading up to the dig is rich in western history. According to scholars and tribal historians, in the nineteenth century Crows, Shoshones, Bannock, Sioux and Cheyenne roamed the nearby mountains, hunting, fishing and trapping, with only the occasional mountain man interloper. Many of those early white men were married into various tribes and had befriended the Indians through trade.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: ‘Jarrett’ archaeological dig proves 7,500 year old Indian culture in Montana

(Clara Caufield is employed as the Operations Manager at Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch and can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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