Bounding Uncertainty and Ignorance: Archaeology and Human Paleoecology in Washakie Wilderness, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming
In the early 21th Century, the Washakie Wilderness, which encompasses roughly 2850 km2 of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, was a virtual blank spot on the map of prehistoric archaeology with only three sites reported and no systematic inventories having been completed. By 2017 cooperative investigation between the Shoshone National Forest and Greybull River Sustainable Landscape Ecology (GRSLE) has completed 16 field seasons in the Washakie and documented 388 previously unknown prehistoric sites in nearly 1700 ha block inventory areas. The GRSLE project focuses on artifact-based documentation and has recorded locational and descriptive data on over 120,000 pieces of chipped stone as our base dataset. Artifacts range in age from Paleoindian though Protohistoric and are found as both small scatters and extensive occupation sites. With only about 0.6% of the Wilderness having been systematically examined, we are just beginning to glimpse the range of variation in artifact locations, attributes, and regional assemblage properties. In addition to a small sample size, recent climate driven changes including large wildlands fires and melting alpine ice patches add to our interpretive uncertainty in reconstructing prehistoric use of the Washakie other than to say it was neither marginal nor subject to limited short-term human use.
Cite this Record
Bounding Uncertainty and Ignorance: Archaeology and Human Paleoecology in Washakie Wilderness, Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. Kyle Wright, Lawrence Todd. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444083)
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min long: -168.574; min lat: 7.014 ; max long: -54.844; max lat: 74.683 ;
Abstract Id(s): 18854