Archaeologists Just Discovered Ancient Villages On This Wyoming Mountain Range And It's Truly Amazing
Wyoming has a rich history that dates back further than the frontier days of the wild west. In fact, archaeologists just made a fascinating discovery in one mountain range from more than 2,000 years ago.
While researching high-altitude prehistoric settlements, University of Sheffield’s Matthew Stirn and his crew discovered 13 ancient villages. The closer they look, the more they’re finding out about the lives and migration habits of ancestors of modern Native American tribes such as the Shoshone, Ute, Comanche, and Northern Paiute. The researchers say that what they’ve found in the Wind River Range is already changing perceptions about humans and how they lived in the ancient West.
Archaeologists don't tend to look for evidence of settlements in the mountains, but the Wind River Range is a treasure trove of prehistoric findings.
Matthew Stirn says that high altitudes are typically thought of as "fringe" areas where ancient people may have traveled but not necessarily lived. The villages in this most recent finding, however, were above 3,200 meters. That not only makes them among the highest sites found in the state, but puts these Wyoming ancient villages in the running for the oldest settlements found at high altitudes anywhere on the North American continent.
Researchers investigated the areas in the Wind River Range that seemed most likely to have been the sites for habitation. The characteristics they were looking for included sunny south-facing slopes on the mountainsides above 3,200 meters that had nearby stands of whitebark pine trees.
The whitebark pines were an important feature because pine nuts would have been a staple food for the ancient villagers.
Stirn and company located several sites in an area over 300 square kilometers, then started digging and screening for artifacts.
They weren't disappointed. They found ample evidence of human habitation including stone platforms thought to have been the foundations for wooden lodges.
The researchers also found loads of tools such as hand-fashioned projectile points...
...groundstones for grinding pine nuts and other foods...
...as well as pipes and other implements the villagers had carved out of stone.
Other prehistoric sites have been found in the Wind River Range so, with these newest 13 settlements, that brings the total in the area up to almost 80 ancient villages dating back over 2,500 - and possibly more! - continuous years.
What other archaeological finds in Wyoming have you heard about?
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