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Ancient tepee poles found in Montana

A National Park Service archaeologist in Montana seems to have a knack for finding ancient tepee poles.

“You can see how out of place it is if you know what you’re looking at,” Finley said.

The pieces he has identified are pole tips, probably broken off as they were dragged across the rugged landscape, Finley explained. The poles would have been cumbersome cargo in difficult terrain, especially in the era before horses arrived in about 1700.

He doesn’t know how old the poles are, but scientific tests are planned to get a better idea. A small tree grew up around one of the poles, which is propped in its ancient branches.

The poles were found in association with the Bad Pass Trail, which native peoples used for at least 10,000 years. It leads from the Wyoming plains to the buffalo country in Montana. Thirteen miles of the trail pass through the recreation area in three segments, Finley said. The trails changed over time from footpaths to paths for people relying on dogs and finally to horse trails.

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