physical evidence, Little Big Horn, ammunition, weapons, Native Americans, soldiers


Often, artifacts, most importantly bullets and spent shell casings, found at the location of the Battle of the Little Big Horn have been used independently of other sources to make or refute certain theories on the encounter. Books and articles based on these finds have advanced many arguments on troop dispositions, types of weapons employed, army movements, the locations of the fighting, and the duration and intensity of combat. Yet many of these studies have not adequately addressed the question of the validity of this physical evidence. The purpose of the this article is to summarize earlier arguments on the accuracy of using bullets and spent shell casings in research and to present a number of examples of how the use of these items in research may be flawed.

Original Publication Citation

Winkler, A., “The Reliability of the Physical Evidence at the Battle of the Little Big Horn: Can the Physical Evidence Found Provide an Accurate Picture?,” Greasy Grass. 2021

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Greasy Grass




Harold B. Lee Library

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor