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Heritage Land Profiles

Bighorn Archaeology specializes in working with local community members to learn more about the cultural resources and history of their property. Whether you live in a house in town or have property out in the country, we can help you better identify the unique resources of your land.


Our company is here as your land stewardship liaisons to prepare a heritage portfolio just for you!

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Red Canyon Ranch

Bighorn Archaeology worked with the landowners of Red Canyon Ranch outside of Thermopolis, Wyoming, to learn more about a historic stage station built by Swedish-American descent immigrants and an associated Plains Indian campsite occupied at the end of the nineteenth century. Despite disruption to settlement and subsistence, Shoshone people left the reservation to camp in tipis at Red Canyon. The mythology of Washakie’s donation of the Thermopolis springs perhaps eased borderland racism, allowing people from the reservation to continue journeys to the mineral pools. 

Heart Mountain Ranch Nature Conservancy

Heart Mountain is a prominent butte top visible across much of the Bighorn Basin in northwestern Wyoming. Much of this cultural significant landmark is currently owned by the Heart Mountain Ranch Nature Conservancy. For several years, Bighorn Archaeology has conducted archaeological research at the ranch. The Nature Conservancy works to restore the landscape surrounding the mountain to a natural state. The public is allowed to access a majority of the property on foot or horseback via a series of trails.  Our work allows the Nature Conservancy to tailor their trail development in a culturally sensitive manner.  Our methodology relies on the examination of three different facets of Heart Mountain, using archaeological, ethnographic, and historic records. In addition to our archaeological work, we continued to work with members of the Crow tribe to assist in their annual reconnection with the mountain.

Apple Jack Ranch

Several years ago, Bighorn Archaeology formed a partnership with the owners of Apple Jack Ranch to help them identify archaeological features on State of Wyoming land adjacent, to their property west of Cody, Wyoming.   They rent several cabins to tourists during the summer, and they wanted to ensure that their visitors were not disturbing any sites when they hike toward Cedar Mountain and the Buffalo Bill reservoir.  Very few archaeological sites have previously been recorded, mostly sections of the historic irrigation canal. We identified dozens of tipi rings from former Indigenous residents.

Hammitt House

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The Hammitt House is located in the City of Cody, Wyoming. Mr. Charles B. Ketchum, a hotel and saloon proprietor, lived there with his wife Mary and their daughter Stella after purchasing the lot in 1900. Within a couple years, Charles took ill, sold the hotel, and took out a loan against the house. He ultimately was unable to repay the debt, and the family moved to Oregon.  In 1902, Simpson Everett "Jack" Stilwell purchased the house for himself and his wife Esther. Jack had been a government scout and Indian fighter before he became a Judge and U.S. Commissioner. At the turn of the twentieth century, Jack and Esther lived several miles from Cody in the community of Marquette, which is now under the Buffalo Bill Reservoir due to the damming of the Shoshone River. In February of 1903, less than a year after moving into town, Jack contracted pneumonia and died while at home, leaving the property to his widow. Esther married Mr. Carl Hammitt in 1906, and they lived together at 1325 Alger Ave. until her death in 1937. Born in England, Esther was the moving spirit and organizer of the Christ Episcopal Church of Cody, and she was one of its most active workers and supporters. Carl met William F. Cody through his brother Frank, who was chief of the cowboys for the Wild West Show for five years. Carl himself joined the show for several seasons, traveling as far as Paris before returning home. The brothers later settled in the Cody area, where Frank Hammitt became one of the first forest rangers for the Yellowstone National Park Timber Reserve. Carl was a cattle rancher, business owner, town marshal, deputy sheriff, and even assistant state game warden.  He was instrumental in introducing legislation to protect Wyoming’s wildlife.  After his wife died of cancer, Carl rented out the front house but continued to live in the converted stables in the back until his death in 1944. Carl and Esther are buried in the Cody Riverside Cemetery. Jack’s grave site is among the old pioneers and scouts at Old Trail Town.

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