An Unsatisfying Final Chapter to the Tourist Guide of the Bakken

As I pushed publish on the final chapter to the Tourist Guide to the Bakken Oil Patch, I fretted over two things. First, I lying in bed at the San Diego Westin Hotel on the first fill day of the Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research. I should really be blogging about something Cypriot or at least something non-North America. So, I’m promising myself after I post this, I’ll get into the proper mood and go forth to enjoy the conference.

Next, I’m profoundly unsatisfied with how this chapter turned out. After a quick trip through the Bakken last week, I noticed that this chapter does not fairly represent the distances between sites (for example Keene and Johnson’s Corner). It does not take into account the newly opened (and spectacular) Watford City bypass. And it overlooks truly massive gravel pits along ND Route 23.


So why did I hit publish? Well, part of it is because I wanted to make sure that I followed through a presented the entire draft. I’m going to revise this anyway, so an unsatisfactory version of the manuscript online is tolerable to me. More importantly, however, I enjoyed thinking about how the invisible infrastructure of the Bakken works. The drive east on ND Route 23 from Watford City does not necessarily reveal the complex networks of pipelines that will gradually add to the industrial activity in this area. The occluded nature of certain aspects of the oil boom ranging from pipelines and gravel pits to crime, danger, and social disruption and trace a dark shadow across the Bakken. For the tourist, signs of these systems and problems will be always be obscure, but the routes on the tourist guide hopefully make a few of them more visible.


The next step is to prepare a thorough revision of the guide for proper publication. At the same time, we will work on the revision of a paper for the journal Historical Archaeology which will represent the first scholarly publication of our work. 

I. Introduction

I.1. A Brief Industrial History of the Bakken Counties
I.2. Practical Notes on Travel, Roads, and Weather in the Bakken
I.3. Technical Notes and Key Terms about the Bakken
I.4. Controversies and Concerns
I.5. The North Dakota Man Camp Project
I.6. Further Reading

II. Route 1: Minot to Ross
II1. Route 1a: Ross to White Earth

III. Route 2: Ross to Tioga

IV: Route 3: Tioga to Williston
IV.1. Route 3a: Wheelock, Nession Flats, East Williston
IV.2. Route 3b: Wildrose

V: Route 4: Williston to Watford City

VI: Route 5: Williston to Sidney, MT

VII: Route 6: Watford City to New Town

VIII. Conclusions: Industrial Tourism and Some Theoretical Reflections

So stay tuned for more Bakkentastic posts here at Archaeology of the Mediterranean World. Now, I have to shift gears and think a bit about Cyprus and the ancient Near East! 

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