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Open house at prehistoric dig site

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 17th, 2013

Young adults enjoy one of the 2011 atl-atl throw events sponsored by the Atl-atl Association and Social Club and the mammoth target used for the event. This year such an event will take place July 27.

GUERNSEY – One of the most famous Paleoindian archaeological sites in North America, Hell Gap, located 15 miles northeast of Guernsey, will be hosting an open house on July 27 where the public will be able to tour the area and excavation site.

The site has always been open to the public, said Marcel Kornfeld, a professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming (UW). Members of the UW archeological team are always excited to have people come visit and learn more about the prehistoric site, he said.

“The Paleoindian peoples [were the] first occupation of the Americas,” he said.

Dating back from 8,000 to 11,000 years, archeologists have made numerous discoveries at the site. By the late 1950s, Hell Gap was investigated by both the University of Wyoming and Harvard University. The importance of what was discovered helped scientists understand how the Paleoindians lived.

“That was the first phase of the investigations … and that had some preliminary results about the site. They, for example, excavated five localities,” he said, adding, “this was very important at the time because they were trying to build cultural sequences of the early occupations of

North America.”

Today, scientists hope to learn more about life in the area through new and advanced methods of the excavation and archeological process.

“Archeology has progressed a great deal over 50 years. So, our excavation techniques, for example, are more precise and detailed than they were in the 1960s,” he said.

The public is invited to tour the site and excavations any time between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. on July 6-7 and July 13-21 and July 27-Aug. 4.

If you would like to volunteer or provide other assistance to the program, please come out a few days early and contact Mary Lou Larson (mlarson@uwyo.edu) (307) 399-0176 or Marcel Kornfeld at (anpro1@uwyo.edu) or the University of Wyoming Department of Anthropology.

Hell Gap is located about 15 miles northeast of Guernsey along Whalen Canyon Road in Goshen County.

For the complete article see the 07-17-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 07-17-2013 paper.

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