Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Villages In Wyoming’s High Altitudes Challenge Migration Map

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Wyoming High Altitude Sites SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND—Matthew Stirn of the University of Sheffield and his colleagues used satellite imagery to predict the locations of 13 prehistoric villages in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. They looked for areas that shared traits in common with other, known village sites of Numic-speaking peoples, such as south-facing, sunny slopes and stands of whitebark pine trees, which produce nutritious nuts. Sure enough, they uncovered artifacts at the new sites that are associated with Numic-speaking people. The 2,000 to 2,500-year-old villages, however, are older than the scientists expected them to be. “If the Numic spread originated in California and moved to Wyoming, how come the Wyoming sites are older than those in California? It has since been proposed that the discovery of earlier villages in Wyoming provide evidence that the Numic spread might have occurred in the opposite direction,” Stirn explained.