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Archaeo News 

30 September 2011
Ancient site in Wyoming may have had year-round residents

Archaeologists in Jackson Hole (Wyoming, USA), have been racing against time to complete excavations before a highway widening programme is undertaken. The excavations, lead by the Wyoming state archaeologists office, started in the summer of 2010 at the mouth of Game Creek, and already more than 40,000 artifacts have been found. The earliest find so far is of a fire pit which has been approximately dated at 8,000 BCE, but accompanying arrowheads and spear heads, which would corroborate the dating, have yet to be found.
     At the time of this fire pit the climate in the area, compared to today, was warmer and wetter in the summer and colder & dryer in the winter. The impact of this is that the summers would have produced more forage which, in turn, would have sustained greater numbers and variety of fauna, leading to a sustained larger population. The dryer winters could also have contributed to the forage bank. But speculation on the year-round occupancy is just that - speculation.
     Considerable analysis of the artifacts is still required to either prove or disprove the theory, including analysis of the animal bones discovered, which could reveal the time of year in which they were killed. It is hoped to expand the excavations next year to the west of the road, where an even higher density of artifacts has been found.

Edited from Deseret News, Associated Press (25 September 2011)

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