Carter County Geological Society – Investigating Rock Art: Medicine Rocks State Park

Ekalaka 2019

The Carter County Museum received a $2,100 grant from the Montana History Foundation in 2019 to develop the curriculum Investigating Medicine Rock Art. The goal of the curriculum is to educate students and the public on the archaeological resources of Carter County and their stewardship, encourage scientific and historical inquiry, and promote cultural understanding of indigenous tribes in the region.

Medicine Rocks State Park is located on 330 acres, just 12 miles northeast of Ekalaka. The park’s namesake Medicine Rocks are sandstone pillars on which more than 2,000 years of continual human interaction are recorded through petroglyphs and pictographs.

Medicine Rocks State Park was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. Since then, attendance has continued to grow. According to Carter County Museum Director Sabre Moore, that makes the curriculum all the more vital to preserving the history of the park. Moore says passing along the stories of the petroglyphs and pictographs has the power to impart the importance of protecting this cultural resource and the significant history of the park.

The curriculum was created with Project Archaeology, a Montana State University-based educational organization dedicated to teaching scientific and historical inquiry and the importance of protecting our nation’s rich cultural resources, and in collaboration with Montana State Parks. It was written by Moore, drawing on extensive research by Dr. Tim Urbaniak and his students at Montana State University Billings, along with information provided in the Medicine Rocks State Park nomination to the Historic Register.

As part of the grant provided by the History Foundation, 30 bound copies of Investigating Medicine Rock Art will be distributed to teachers who attend a corresponding workshop on the curriculum in 2020. It will also be available on Project Archaeology’s website in early 2020.


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