Cultural Resource Studies at the Monte Cristo Mining District

Cultural Resource Inventory at the Monte Cristo Mining District

Tierra was contracted by the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State to perform a detailed survey and record sites at the Monte Cristo Mining District and townsite. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was preparing for a large-scale clean-up intended to remove contaminated soils from several mines, adits, and processing centers within the old townsite. As part of the clean-up process, a full inventory of cultural resources was requested. 

Historic Mining Refuse at Monte CristoTierra was hired to synthesize all previous data on the area and to conduct a survey of the townsite and associated mine-related features. The end product will help the USFS assess the resources it presently possesses and will aid in the reconstruction of features impacted by clean-up efforts.

Tierra’s work consisted of four field visits in the spring and summer of 2013, as well as interviews and extensive research into the town’s history. High elevation and a remote mountain location made fieldwork particularly challenging, as late snowmelt, early winter conditions, and frequent precipitation created a narrow working window. Fieldwork consisted of surveying, mapping, and recording all features, structures, and artifacts re-located during survey. All structural debris was mapped in its present condition, and all artifacts were provenienced with a GPS unit to aid in re-location or replacement once the USFS clean-up is complete.

Tierra’s archaeologists wrote an extensive report documenting the results of the surveys, and the project was completed in the Autumn of 2013.