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Powars II Paleoindian Hematite Quarry



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The Powars II site, located in Platte County, Wyoming, is the only prehistoric hematite (red ocher) quarry thus far identified in the American archaeological record. The site is comprised of a hematite quarry feature and associated tailings containing an estimated hundreds of thousands of chipped stone, bone, and antler artifacts deposited during quarrying activities between ca. 13,000 and 11,000 years ago. The site certainly fulfilled a need for hematite; it contains digging tools and intact quarry features. However, Powars II also appears to have been a place where Paleoindians lingered to repair equipment and produce new stone tools over repeated occupations spanning 1,000 to 2,000 years. Prolonged use of Powars II created one of the largest assemblages of Paleoindian artifacts thus far discovered in North America — an assemblage that includes artifacts of the Clovis, Plainview/Goshen, Folsom/Midland, Agate Basin, and Hell Gap cultural complexes. Powars II has been disturbed in several ways, but it retains deeply buried in situ sediments that reflect site activities during its use. The Powars II site is one of the richest repositories of Paleoindian artifacts and in the Americas and investigations up until this point have just begun to understand the varied behaviors that formed this site over 11,000 years ago. The site has great potential to inform Paleoindian research for many years to come and is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance under Criterion D.




Date Added to Register:                           Thursday, May 6, 2021 
Platte County
Smithsonian Number: 


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