Wyoming’s trails, roads and highways follow centuries-old Native American hunting and trade routes. For generations, Shoshone, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, Lakota and Crow people gathered plants, visited family and tracked game along watercourses and over mountain passes in the seasonal subsistence patterns of their lives.
Browse Articles about Prehistory
|American Indian geography in Wyoming||Gregory Nickerson|
|American Indian tribes, trade among||Samuel Western|
|Archeology, alpine in Wyoming||Rebecca Hein|
|Colby Mammoth Site||WyomingHeritage.org|
|Finley Bison Kill Site||Stephanie Lowe|
|Indian geography in Wyoming||Gregory Nickerson|
|Indian tribes, trade among||Samuel Western|
|Medicine Wheel||Fred Chapman|
The Bighorn Medicine Wheel and its surrounding landscapes on Medicine Mountain in the northern Bighorns make up one of the most important Native American sacred sites in the United States. Twenty years of compromise and conflict on how best to preserve the site involved several governmental agencies and elders representing 16 tribes.
Recent, surprising discoveries including a prehistoric village in the Wind River Range above Dubois, Wyo., suggest humans—most likely ancestors of today’s Shoshone people—lived high-mountain lives as long as 10,000 years ago.
The earliest people appear to have come to Wyoming from Asia about 11,000 years ago and archaeologists now think there’s a good chance the people were direct ancestors of Shoshone people who live in Wyoming now. In recent years, the mostly white archaeologists have realized it makes sense to ask Shoshone people for help understanding the pictures and carvings their ancestors left on the rocks.
The mystery surrounding the Pedro Mountain Mummy, discovered in the 1930s about 60 miles south of Casper, Wyo., by two gold prospectors, continues to intrigue people. While some sensational media accounts indicated the mummy might have been one of the little people of American Indian folklore, scientists who studied the artifact in detail have concluded that the mummy was an infant who died because of a congenital defect.
The Finley Site, located near Eden in Sweetwater County, Wyo., was used by early American Indians to trap and kill bison. The Finley Site is an early Holocene Paleo-Indian bison-kill and processing area, dating back about 7,500 to 12,500 years before the present. This was the first place where Eden points and two kinds of Scottsbluff projectile points were found together, showing that the three were contemporaneous. The Finley Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.