River Basin Surveys Papers, No. 15: Historic Sites Archeology on the Upper Missouri

Publication: Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin 176

Author: Merrill J. Mattes

Date of Publication: 1955

PDF File: fulltext-1.pdf


The Flood Control Act of 1944 laid the groundwork for a comprehensive water-control plan for the Missouri River Basin, involving the survey of over 100 potential reservoir sites, and the early creation of several of these reservoirs by the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. The construction of large dams, inundating extensive river valleys, posed a grave threat to important historical and archeological values quickly recognized by two other Government agencies which have primary responsibilities in these fields—the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior, and the Smithsonian Institution. Under the aggressive leadership of chief historian R. F. Lee and assistant chief historian Herbert E. Kahler, of the National Park Service, and Dr. Frank H. H. Roberts, Jr., of the Bureau of American Ethnology, a program was launched for the survey and salvage of archeological sites threatened or doomed by the prospect of inundation.