Skip to comments.Dig Finds Long-Term Use At Hell's Half Acre (6,000BC)
Posted on 04/17/2006 2:45:58 PM PDT by blam
Dig finds long-term use at Hell's Half Acre
Site was home to Indians at least 1,200 years ago By The Associated Press
CASPER, Wyo. -- A preliminary report on an archaeological dig says Hell's Half Acre, west of Casper, was home to prehistoric American Indians at least 1,200 years ago, and perhaps as long as 8,000 years ago.
John Albanese, chairman of the Natrona County Historic Preservation Society, told Natrona County commissioners on Thursday that archaeological evidence shows Indians were hunting bison at Hell's Half Acre between 1,200 and 3,000 years ago, and that some evidence appeared to be much older.
"There could be some older material," Albanese said. "We found a spear point about 8,000 years old."
Albanese was hired by the county to conduct an archaeological dig on about 460 acres of the county's 960-acre park at Hell's Half Acre. He said he hoped to have his final report completed later this year. Albanese said his research so far indicates the area was populated by small bands -- 20 or 30 people, probably family or clan groups -- during the summer, with bands coming together into groups of 200 to 300 during the winter.
Those larger groups would herd bison through the arroyos to Hell's Half Acre, then herd them over the cliffs to their deaths, providing meat for the winter.
There could be some older material," Albanese said. "We found a spear point about 8,000 years old."
Wouldn't 8,000 year old stuff be lower down in the dig than the 3,000 year old stuff?
To find a lot of younger stuff then one 8,000 year old point with it gives new meaning to the term recycling.
The movie "Starship Troopers" was filmed at Hell's Half Acre (Bug Planet).
I've been there! Strange place. VERY interesting for a soil scientist.
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>>Wouldn't 8,000 year old stuff be lower down in the dig than the 3,000 year old stuff?
Out in the western US though, deposition is not always "older must be deeper". I've found a broken Folsom point sitting on the ground surface in New Mexico (close to 10,000 years old). I also worked (in the lab) on a site from North Dakota that had been used from Folsom times up till the the time of Christ, pretty much continuously (Knife River Flint quarries, http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mt.php?a=140). That had a lot more than just one point though.
>>To find a lot of younger stuff then one 8,000 year old point with it gives new meaning to the term recycling.
That is a very good observation. There is a evidence of recycling at many sites (points reworked into new forms), or even procurement of older points because the item was considered sacred. Usually stratigraphy can help you sort such things out, but in a site where you overlapping occupations and little deposition, or periods of deposition and deflation/erosion which mixes layers, it is a difficult challenge.
I didn't think of that is guess "a good point is a beauty forever". Early man never ceases to amaze me.
Didn't know about the SST movie being made there. I lived in Casper in the late 70s, and used to stop at Hell's half acre to wet my whistle on the ride back into town.
Some of those early points display amazing craftsmanship. Even today I see them in a museum or collection and think of them as functional art. Having learned how to flintknap (poorly, I might add) I also know the effort that went into them--getting the proper stone, possibly heat-treating the stone, then the actual work to craft the point. I have a book at home that shows some of the most impressive points. I'll dig up the reference tonight if you are interested.
Interesting reading. Never been to that site.
Thanks - you can also do Google Images on "Clovis Points". This was definitely functional art.