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Expert to speak on pre-historic, high-altitude societies Saturday

Aug 11, 2013 - From staff reports

Thousands of people hike, hunt and explore in the highest elevations of the Wind River Valley without knowing that prehistoric residents of the area once occupied entire villages just below the tree line at around 10,000 feet.

The revelation that a prehistoric village existed at a high elevation in the northern latitude of central Wyoming was startling to archaeologists when it was announced a few years ago.

On Saturday, Colorado State University archaeologist Richard Adams will describe new evidence of another prehistoric occupation at high altitudes in the Wind River Valley region. These discoveries, he said, confirm the area's unofficial title as the "epicenter of Rocky Mountain archaeology."

Adams is the archaeologist who, in 2006, led a team that discovered the what he calls "High Rise Village," the first-known, high-altitude prehistoric village in Wyoming. It is a large group of dwelling foundations at 10,700 feet in the mountains above Dubois, surrounded by numerous artifacts that identify it with the early Shoshone culture.

In a presentation packed with images, Adams will describe new discoveries made by himself and a group of professionals, students and volunteers, who scoured the retreating ice patches at high altitudes along the Continental Divide for archaeological remains. Among their findings were several preforms of soapstone bowls that weigh up to 200 pounds.

The highlight of the expeditions was the discovery of a previously unknown subalpine prehistoric village on the west side of the Continental Divide.

There the group recorded a half dozen lodge pads as well as a soapstone bowl preform, clay pot sherds, and Late Prehistoric projectile points.

Adams' presentation will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Dennison Lodge in Dubois.

For more information, call the Dubois Museum at 455-2284 or the Dubois Museum Association chairwoman Lois Wingerson at 455-3568.

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