35 Responses

  1. 13 Ancient Villages Discovered in Wyoming Mount...

    […] High in the alpine forests of northwestern Wyoming, archaeologists have discovered more than a dozen villages dating back over 2,000 years, a find that could alter our understanding of the scope of…  […]

  2. jerry kendall
    jerry kendall at |

    have lived here all my life and spent alot of time hiking the winds…please forgive my ignorance but could these people be who are referred to as the sheep eaters?

    1. Dennis June
      Dennis June at |

      Weren’t sheep brought into the new world by the Spanish?

      1. Brandon
        Brandon at |

        Big horn sheep…..not farm sheep..

      2. Yas
        Yas at |

        This isn’t the new world. Stop it with your Eurocentric trash.

  3. Gerald Shippen
    Gerald Shippen at |

    Could it be that these were seasonal locations where the inhabitants were there for summer/fall hunting and gathering and exploitation of stone materials used in tool fabrication? Said locations would be ideal corridors between the high mountain (summer use) and low lands (winter use) .

    1. Dennis Portillo
      Dennis Portillo at |

      As I read this article the seasonal use is exactly what I was thinking. It is as cold as the dickens in the flats of the Winds let alone to be up so dang high in the dead of winter.

  4. USA : 13 Ancient Villages Discovered in Wyoming...

    […] High in the alpine forests of northwestern Wyoming, archaeologists have discovered more than a dozen villages dating back over 2,000 years, a find that could alter our understanding of the scope of…  […]

  5. Brandon
    Brandon at |

    I have been raised on the wind river and have found lots of stuff through the years. If you want a adventure look in to the little people . I have been looking into it for 10 years. There are still sightings . And we might have stumbled across were they are hiding out…I think they are still out there . We have story’s from hunters who saw them 1’st hand high in the mountains sheep hunting . …we have found lots of old sheep eater camps around here , we just never tell ANYONE ! Congrats on your discovery

    1. sheldon beard
      sheldon beard at |

      please tell me more about the little people, i have a story of my own to tell

  6. Angie
    Angie at |

    I am a member of the Comanche Nation. I find these new found sites extremely interesting and exciting. Our elders have told (oral tradition) stories handed down from their ancestors about living in the mountains. Since I am from Southwest Oklahoma and we have small hills, that description (of living in and around tall mountains) was always so foreign to me. Also what Brandon says about the little people, Nunupee’s is what Comanche’s call them, would be interesting as well. We too have stories and sightings of these Nunupee’s in our area. Keep up the good work and congratulations on your research.

    1. Jerry
      Jerry at |

      The Shoshone name for the little people is nynymbi. According to a book written by Dr. William Alonzo Allen in 1913 they were a spirit people. When a Mountain Shoshone was doing a vision quest he would sit in front of a rock panel of ancient drawings, wrapped in a blanket for several days and nights. The nynymbi would come and take him inside the rock to meet a series of frightening creatures, instructing him on proper behavior for such meetings. He would then leave him alone in the rock and eventually gain power to free himself and become a powerful warrior or a puhagant. (medicine person)

  7. Michael
    Michael at |

    Has anyone ever canvassed Casper Mountain for prehistoric sites? I remember coming across some stone structures that seemed to be like dugouts. They were on the very western end of the mountain and the view from the structures was one of a hundred miles to the west. It seems it would have been a perfect place to watch out for approaching danger. I have always wondered about them and who may have built them.

  8. Rich K
    Rich K at |
  9. 13 Ancient Villages Discovered in Wyoming Mountains May Redraw Map of Tribal Migrations | Ancientfoods

    […] Original article: western digs.org […]

  10. Jasper
    Jasper at |

    Blake was any rock art encountered at elevation?
    This is just fascinating, really fantastic

  11. Ken
    Ken at |

    Blake, has any discovery work been done in the Big Horn Mountains, the Gros Ventre Mountains, Wyoming Range, or the Uinta Mountains? Those mountain ranges also have elevations near or at 10,500 feet. I don’t know about whitebark pine stands in those mountains.

    I lived at Calpet for a number of years. While living there, I went to the base of the Hogsback in search of fertile, dark soil for a garden. I found some at a spring and as I dug the dirt I found animal bone fragments (ribs, joints, leg bones) on gravel about 1′ – 2′ deep indicating that the spring was likely much more active in the past. It may have been a camp site at some time in the past. I’ve been interested in revisiting the site, but it is now, and likely was then, on private property, which is now occupied.

  12. Dating Oldest Known Petroglyphs in North America | The Fenn Diagrams

    […] 13 Ancient Villages Discovered in Wyoming Mountains May Redraw Map of Tribal Migrations (westerndigs.org) […]

  13. Charles Twist
    Charles Twist at |

    Thanks for the clarity

  14. Peter Kolb
    Peter Kolb at |

    Fascinating! If you look at some of the research conducted by Cathy Whitlocks group at Montana State University – S.A. Mumma et al. / Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 326-328 (2012) 30–41; C. Whitlock et al. / Quaternary Research 75 (2011) 114–124; and M.J. Power et al. / Quaternary Science Reviews 30 (2011) 2520e2533 there may be a strong correlation between habitation at higher elevation sites and prolonged warm climatic periods where life at lower elevations would have been exceedingly difficult

  15. Sheffield archaeology graduate discovers sky-high prehistoric villages

    […] An article on Western Digs also has more information on Matt’s project. […]

  16. Jerry
    Jerry at |

    Was an avid back packer here in the winds for over 30 years and have always been interested in artifacts. while walking a rocky ridge overlooking a creek, i found a hole that had been dug about 4 feet down shaped like a bowl about 8′ across. at first i thought it was a prospecting hole but there was no dirt just filled with small rock. walking on i found 2 more about 50 yards apart. all three looked the same. i dismissed them for years untill i was reading about the sheepeaters and how they would dig these along known trails of the mountain sheep to hide in wait for their game to come by. Its in an ideal place. I am very excited to go back to this place and check it out further.

  17. jerry d. kendall
    jerry d. kendall at |

    This gets more exciting every day for me. I am extremely interested in these ancient villages found in the Wind Rivers. So much so that i have wrote a book, about a Mountain Shoshone (Sheep Eater) medicine woman. Although fiction, I have used my knowledge of the Winds, having been an avid back packer and fisherman for three decades, along with what i have read about these people as a backdrop. I hope to meet a man who is studying these sites through a mutual friend who purchased one of my books. Although i am no longer able to climb to those elevations due to my exposure to agent orange, I know i must have walked past many of those sites. This is very discouraging and truthfully, heart breaking for me. But hopefully by being able to talk to this gentleman i might be able to paint a more accurate picture of the way these people lived. Any information, any at all, will be appreciated.

  18. Brent Slensker
    Brent Slensker at |

    Say hello to Bryon Schroeder and his crew!

  19. Shaina Ringler
    Shaina Ringler at |

    I am looking to find some information on a small stature tribe of Indians whos remains were discovered by a sheep hunter when his kill fell onto one of their platforms they carved out of the mountains. I have been to the sight a few times but have never been able to find anything about them. From what i know some people refer to them as the little red people because of the color of their hair and they were killed by the Shoshone because they were stealing food and terrorizing their camps.People went to the sight and all the artifacts were taken to a museum back east. The area i have been to is between bliss creek meadows and hidden basin in Wyoming. Any help would be great, thank you!

  20. Kel Ariwite
    Kel Ariwite at |

    Over here in Idaho, the Sheep Eater Shoshone (Tuku-Dika) have been dated back to occupying the land for over 15,000 years. I’m pretty sure it’s the same dating a couple hundred miles away. Time to return to some more stolen lands.

  21. jerry d kendall
    jerry d kendall at |

    Just wonderin if the research is still ongoin and what if any further information they have gathered. For reasons of my own, i prefer to believe that at one time, the Sheep Eaters lived year around high in the mountains. As the climate changed they began coming to the valley during the winter months. i believe i have found one of their winter sites. I believe it was a winter site because the fire rings are located inside the tipis. It is located on a SouthEast face and has a large stand of juniper and white bark pine bordering it. I counted as many as 30 rings and i am sure there are more…I was impressed with the choice of this location. water close….good shelter and protection from both nature and man…good food source…also my secret place…

  22. Dennis Ward
    Dennis Ward at |

    The finding and exploration of all these sites across the mountain west from the Wind River range to the Mojave suggest the possibility of various climate changes over the millennia that would account for long term settlements in what we would consider some very hostile environments during certain times of the year. The native people would obviously adapt by seasonal or gradual migration following game, wild food sources and moisture patterns? They would be very adept at taking advantage of the resources available, unlike their modern cousins dependent on energy intensive high tech food sources. As to adaptation any good local native museum like the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning is a great example of the high level of adaptation to their environments and how they flourished as a society for many thousands of years?

  23. Vince Wyckoff
    Vince Wyckoff at |

    I just returned from a 2 week backpacking trip in the Bighorn Mtns. I found a 3′ long stick with strange carvings in it. Looks very old. Nearby I found a bison horn, so old it’s paper thin fragile. Little bacteria and rodents at 10,500′ elevation, so these items may be very old. No way a bison would be at 10,000′, so someone brought it up there. We’re speculating; a quest of some sort? A calendar stick? Was the horn used to ladle water or carry food? A buffalo headdress? I brought the items home with me but would return them to a tribe in exchange for information as what they may mean. I’d like to honor the life of whoever left these items up there. Can someone discuss these items with me? I live in Minnesota, and an old Ojibwe friend told me the stick is definitely native, but he doesn’t know what it could be. I’ve found medicine and calendar sticks online that look a lot like this one. Thanks.

  24. Paul
    Paul at |

    I’m going to the bighorns in a week
    To do some hiking/hunting I will be going in on hwy 16 out of buffalo
    Any tips on hiking there

  25. Paul
    Paul at |

    Where were you hiking at


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