Before any contact with Europeans, Shoshone, Crow, Arapaho, Comanche, Cheyenne, Ute and Lakota people in what’s now Wyoming bartered with each other and more distant tribes for food, horses, guns and more in trade networks stretching from the upper Missouri to the Pacific and from Mexico to Canada.
Browse Articles about Prehistory
|American Indian tribes, trade among||Samuel Western|
|Colby Mammoth Site||WyomingHeritage.org|
|Finley Bison Kill Site||Stephanie Lowe|
|Indian tribes, trade among||Samuel Western|
|Native American trade before European arrival||Samuel Western|
|Pedro Mountain Mummy, The||Rebecca Hein|
|Pictographs and Petroglyphs||Tom Rea|
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.
The Medicine Wheel, a ring of limestone boulders 80 feet in diameter with 28 spokes radiating from a central cairn, lies on an open mountaintop at an elevation above 9,600 feet in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains. People have used the area for perhaps 7,000 years; researchers believe the wheel was constructed over a period of centuries from about 1,500 to about 500 years ago.
Remains of at least seven mammoths, probably from a meat cache dating back more than 11,000 years, were found when the Colby Mammoth site east of Worland, Wyo., was excavated by a crew under Wyoming State Archaeologist George Frison in the 1970s.