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7 June 2009
Hell Gap dig underway again in Wyoming

The G.C. Frison Institute and the Anthropology Department of the University of Wyoming in conjunction with the Wyoming Archaeological Foundation is conducting excavations at the Hell Gap archaeological site, northeast of Guernsey, Wyoming (USA).
     The Hell Gap Site is one of the best known Paleoindian archaeological sites in North America. First investigated in the 1960s resulted in uncovering many 8,000-11,000 year old campsites in several locations along the Hell Gap valley. At that time the sequence of Paleoindian cultures was unknown and the Hell Gap site provided the data to establish this sequence. Establishing the sequence was possible because little erosion occurred in the valley since Paleoindian times preserving the archeology.
     After more than 30 years since those excavations, the Hell Gap sequence has been questioned and a re-investigation of the site, the only place where a long period of geologic sedimentation and Paleoindian occupation coincide, may be able to solve many new problems relating to Paleoindian prehistory. To work on these problems the Frison Institute and the Wyoming Archaeological Foundation, owners of the property, are co-operating to investigate the Hell Gap valley. The University of Wyoming Advanced Archaeological Field School, volunteers, and students from throughout the world are investigating the site this May and June.
     This year's excavations focus on uncovering a series of 8,000 to 10,000 year old camps associated with Frederick, Cody, and Hell Gap type projectile points. The Frederick point is named after the previous landowners that donated a portion of the site and some of the surrounding property to the Wyoming Archaeological Foundation.
     Excavations began on May 18 and 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. from June 8 to June 16 and June 20 to June 23. There will also be an open house at the site on Saturday, June 20, with tours of the excavations and field labs. 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) or Marcel Kornfeld (anpro1@uwyo.edu). Hell Gap is located about 15 miles northeast of Guernsey along Whalen Canyon Road.

Source: The Guernsey Gazette (2 June 2009)

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