Fort Union National Historic Site,
Union National Historic Site is located near the confluence
of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers in western North Dakota.
This important historic site, occupied from 1828-1867, was the major
trading post and staging area on the Upper Missouri River during
the American Fur Trade.
trading post site has been studied via historical research and archaeological
excavation for decades. Since the excavations, this impressive structure
in a beautiful setting has been faithfully reconstructed. The site,
which includes living history exhibits as well as museum display
and conservation area, is open to visitors year-round.
the excavations, a large quantity and wide variety of artifacts
were recovered. A publication covering the glass trade bead assemblage
(some 38,496 specimens) was written by De Vore (1992), and a CD
is also available which contains the color plates of the beads (Ross
2000). Smoke Pfeiffer (1982) and De Vore and Hunt (1993) reported
some pipes from the early excavations in their manuscript reports.
Much of the rest of the collection—especially from the later
excavations—has remained uncatalogued and unstudied. The Fort
Union pipe collection is thought to be the largest pipe collection
from a National Historic Site.
Byron Sudbury documented and analyzed the clay tobacco pipes and
pipe fragments from Fort Union. This research project is funded
through a grant by the NPS with a matching donation from J.S. Enterprises.
results of this study were reported in a contract report in November
2008. An expanded version of this study is in press with release
expected in early 2009 as Historic Clay Tobacco Pipe Studies Research
Monograph 2: Politics of the Fur Trade: Clay Tobacco Pipes at
Fort Union Trading Post (32WI17). For availability, check with
A sample of the photographic plates in this
final report may be seen here.
The final report will be available in color (hard cover) and black
and white (paperback) editions. It can ordered from the printer
(Lulu press) or at a discounted rate from the author.
The volume includes 108 photographic figures, and 6 appendices including
a number of additional illustrations. The Fort Union Trading post
pipe report table of contents can be seen here.
[The contents of other volumes in the HCTPS series can be seen here.]
A summary of pipes of the fur trade is also included. A separate
CD of the digital figures used in the book will also be available.
Vore, Steven LeRoy, 1992. BEADS
of the BISON ROBE TRADE: The Fort Union Trading Post Collection.
Friends of Fort Union Trading Post, Williston, North Dakota.
Vore, Steven LeRoy, and William J. Hunt, Jr., 1993. Fort Union Trading
Post National Historic Site (32WI17) Material Culture Reports Part
IX: Personal, Domestic, and Architectural Artifacts.” NPS
Midwest Archeological Center, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Michael A., 1982. “Clay Tobacco Pipes and the Fur Trade of
the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains.” Masters Thesis,
University of Idaho, November.
Lester A., 2000. Trade Beads from Archeological Excavations at Fort
Union Trading Post National Historic Site.
J. Byron, 2009. Politics of the Fur Trade: Clay Tobacco Pipes
at Fort Union Trading Post (32WI17). Historic Clay Tobacco
Pipe Studies Research Monograph 2. 225 pages. Clay Pipes Press,
Ponca City, Oklahoma 74602-2282 USA.