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Hell Gap: A National Historic Landmark

Hell Gap is a stratified site with multiple Paleoindian components. Known as the type site for three Paleoindian complexes (Goshen-11,000 rcybp, Hell Gap-10,000 rcybp, and Frederick-8000 rcybp) and for its Paleoindian cultural sequence, the most complete sequence known for the period, the site plays an extraordinary role in the studies of the First Americans.

Arrowheads found at Hell Gap

From left to right: Goshen, Folsom, Midland, Agate Basin, Hell Gap, Alberta, Scottsbluff, Frederick, and Lusk

      

Originally excavated in the 1960s by Harvard University and its Peabody Museum field expeditions, Hell Gap proved to be a chronostratigraphic panacea as well as a campsite, an uncommon type of site at the time and one yielding a richer cultural inventory of Paleoindian objects. Hell Gap has been under re-investigation since 1993. Our investigations aimed to analyze the results of the 1960s expeditions, as well as initiate new field studies. Excavations have currently reached the early Paleoindian components.

 

Cultural layers at Hell Gap site. Cynthia Irwin-Williams explaining Hell Gap in 1965.
              

Cultural layers at the Hell Gap site (above left). Cynthia Irwin-Williams explaining Hell Gap on 1965 INQUA field trip, 1965 (above right).

 

Folsom fluting workshop, an abrader and ochre (below left), bone and stone beads (below right)

 

Folsom fluting, an abrader and cohre examples. Bone and stone beads.
           
sheep

PiRL


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Email: anthro@uwyo.edu

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