The Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist (OWSA) investigates, studies, records, and preserves evidence of prehistoric and historic human activity in Wyoming.

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Central Wyoming College Field School

 

 

 

The 2016 Central Wyoming College (CWC) archaeological field school is researching what appears to be a buffalo jump at 11,000 feet overlooking Dinwoody Canyon in the Wind River Mountains, and two multi-component, early Paleo through Late Prehistoric campsites near the toe of the Dinwoody Glacier. The sites were found during the 2015 field school.  Carbon dates on tree stumps at and near the buffalo jump range from 1220 +/- 30 BP to 2090 +/- 30 BP.

 

Field school student holding a bison horn sheath recovered near a hunting blind in the driveline.

 

The archaeological field school spent the summer of 2016 learning field methods by conducting Class III surveys and testing programs in Bates Hole and the Wind River and Bighorn Basins of Wyoming for the BLM. Students also receive advanced GIS training as part of this program. The last of six ten day sessions this year will require a three day backpack trip into the Fitzpatrick Wilderness in conjunction with other student research teams in Environmental Science and Outdoor Education on the annual CWC Interdisciplinary Climate Change Expedition. The purpose is to study the Dinwoody Glacier and human relationships with changing climate during the last 12,000 years. This includes using ground penetrating radar to measure ice depth.  

 

CWC students surveying at the top of the Dinwoody Bison Jump. The top of the scarp is immediately behind them.

 

Six days will be spent on and near the Glacier mapping and conducting limited test excavations to try to understand when people were there and what they were doing at such high and hostile elevations. Some preliminary evidence even suggests prehistoric people even wintered in the high alpine.

 

Field school student at the edge of the jump off.