National Register of Historic Places

The Finley Site

Sweetwater County

Date Added to Register

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Smithsonian Number


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The Finley Site is an early Holocene Paleoindian bison kill/processing area consisting of two main localities (Locality I and II) situated within a presently stabilized sand dune on the western edge of the Killpecker Dune Field in southwestern Wyoming. Surface finds of diagnostic Eden and Scottsbluff projectile points in 1940 by Orion M. Finley, and subsequent testing and excavation by the University Museum of Philadelphia, the Nebraska State Museum, and the University of Wyoming/Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist indicate that the site dates to the latter portion of the Paleoindian period (~ 9,000 B.P.), and is associated with the Cody Cultural Complex; a cultural group widespread throughout Wyoming and the Northwestern Plains, but also extending into adjacent regions (e.g. Great Plains, Southern Plains). The Finley site is the only known Paleoindian bison kill in Southwestern Wyoming.

The significance of the Finley site, 48SW5, lies in the fact that it was important in the formation of Early Man (Paleoindian) studies, thus making a significant contribution to the broad patterns of archaeological theory, and therefore qualifying the site for listing on the National Register under Criterion A. The period of significance (1940-1947) reflects the time period when the initial archaeological and geological work was carried out at the site, and the time period when information gathered at the Finley site was of primary significance to Early Man studies. The site is nominated at the state level of significance because Finley was significant in helping to define the regional cultural chronology. Finley is the type site of the Eden projectile point, and also the first site where Eden and Scottsbluff Type I and Type II projectile points were found together in direct association, thus demonstrating that the three styles were contemporaneous.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources