Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)

Degree Level





Kenneth Kvamme

Committee Member

Jami J. Lockhart

Second Committee Member

Marvin Kay


Social sciences, Earth sciences, Archaeological geophysics, Electrical resistance, Fur trade, Great plains, Magnetometry, Missouri river


Fort Pierre Chouteau in present day South Dakota was the most important fur trading post of the American Fur Company in the 1830s, serving as a regional hub for the fur trade. The Fort was sold to the U.S. Military in 1855 for use as a base in the Sioux Wars but was abandoned in 1856. Geophysical surveys and previous excavations indicate evidence of both occupations. Geophysics is an important tool for determining the extent of archaeological sites, yet the relationships between geophysical anomalies and excavation features may not be readily evident. Initial geophysical surveys (Kvamme 2007) were completed to determine the extent of the fur trading Fort, and additional surveys in August 2012 used magnetometry and electrical resistance to determine if evidence of military structures exists outside of the Fort. This study examines connections between excavation features and geophysical anomalies in order to better interpret anomalies inside the Fort palisade. The palisade builder's trench, adobe pavement, post holes, and unknown structures are characterized through the analysis of the excavations and anomalies. The location of one of the military structures outside of the palisade is also identified. As many sites have histories of excavations prior to any geophysical surveys, combining the two sets of information is important in order to more fully understand site layout and the archaeological causes of geophysical anomalies.