Summer excavations to resume at Hell Gap Site

Hell Gap was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark in the summer of 2017. It continues to be a place of great interest to those studying the area’s ancient history.

GOSHEN COUNTY-- Once again, area residents and visitors will have an opportunity early this summer to observe, and in some cases, participate in excavation at the Hell Gap Paleoindian site, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2018.
Marcel Kornfeld and Mary Lou Larson, professors of anthropology at the University of Wyoming and directors of the project, along with Professor Emeritus George C. Frison and others, renewed excavations at the site northeast of Guernsey, Wyo., in 2013. Personnel from the Peabody Museum at Harvard University and UW began work at the site in the 1960s, after a local resident discovered artifacts that had washed out following a heavy rain storm. Since then, many 8,000-11,000 year-old-campsites have been uncovered by research teams.
A series of public meetings to introduce the site, its history, and possible future developments, will be held throughout the area prior to and during the field school season. This year’s project is supported by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.
“This summer’s field school offers an extended learning experience for more than UW students,” Kornfeld said of the season’s activities. “Volunteers are invited to take advantage of it, and anyone interested can contact me or Mary Lou for more information.”
The Summer 2019 field school will run in three sessions from June 21 to July 29: June 21-July 1, July 6-15, July 20-29. Hell Gap is located northeast of Guernsey on Whalen Canyon Road.
Kornfeld said the crew and volunteers will work alongside the University of Wyoming Advanced Archaeological Field School. The sessions will include an open house the weekend of July13, with site tours, atl-atl throwing competitions, and flint knapping demonstrations, including the talents of Bruce Bradley, internationally renown for his skills. More information on the Open House will be announced closer to the date.
The Hell Gap field school is open to graduate and undergraduate students. Students will have an opportunity to learn field techniques, use electronic and digital data recording systems, such as data management and analysis, as well as graphic and display techniques. There also will be workshops on lithics, zooarchaeolgoy, stone tool making, atl-atl throws and public education.
Students will also participate in research design and project execution and budgeting, as well as the final report with the crew, and will present their findings at several professional meetings.
Extracurricular opportunities include, but are not limited to, visits to Fort Laramie National Historic Site, the Western History Center, the Hudson-Meng, Vore and Agate Fossil Beds sites, as well as the Black Hills, and Fort Robinson.
For more information on this Advanced Field School 5180 opportunity, and related activities, contact Kornfeld at [email protected], or Larson at [email protected], or visit the website http://www.uwyo.edu/anthropology/piri/, see the summer schedule tab.

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