12,000 Years in Prehistory in the Bighorn Mountains
Name: 12,000 Years in Prehistory in the Bighorn Mountains
Date: April 16, 2019
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM MDT
Since 2005, archaeologists from the University of Wyoming, under the direction of Robert L. Kelly, have been excavating Alm Rockshelter on Paint Rock Creek on the west side of the Bighorn Mountains. Between 2014 and 2018 it was part of the University of Wyoming’s summer archaeological field school. The site is deeply stratified with remarkably little disturbance by burrowing animals. For this reason, we can estimate the artifact age based on depth with high precision. The excavation was completed in 2018 and reveals a location that was used since almost 12,000 years ago. Analysis is still ongoing, so this is a preliminary report of what we have learned so far. The site shows periods of more intense and less intense use as a short-term camp, primarily for hunting. Ultimately, the goal is to link a changing use of the shelter to changes in the region’s population history, as reconstructed through changing frequencies of radiocarbon dates, and to changes in the Bighorn’s environment.