Professor explores use of ancient obsidian

How obsidian cliff is used by native Americans

University of Montana anthropology Professor Doug MacDonald will present a lecture titled “Yellowstone’s Obsidian Cliff: Celebrating 20 Years as a National Historic Landmark” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, in the University Center Room 333.

The talk, presented in celebration of April as Archaeology Month, will discuss the Native American use of Obsidian Cliff obsidian for stone tool manufacture during the past 11,000 years.

In particular, 2,000 years ago, Native Americans of the Hopewell culture located in the Midwestern United States used the stone as a grave good in burial mounds. One mound near Columbus, Ohio, contained 300 pounds of obsidian from Yellowstone.

MacDonald also will discuss his own archaeological research in Yellowstone, including the results of a recent archaeological survey along the southern edge of Obsidian Cliff.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information call MacDonald at 406-243-5814 or email


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