National Register of Historic Places

The Hanson Site

North of Shell

Date Added to Register

Friday, December 15, 1978

Smithsonian Number


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There are two known separate areas that make up the Hanson site, a Paleoindian site located in the northern Big Horn Basin. The part of the site to the south (Hanson I) is where the first discovery was made and test excavations were carried out in the fall of 1973 by the University of Wyoming. Extensive evidence of stone flaking was found and all stages of production from core reduction to tool and projectile point manufacture were present. Tools, evidence of fire, and bone fragments suggested extensive campsite activity. The northern part of the site across the small arroyo was discovered in the spring of 1975 shortly after the beginning of fieldwork at Hanson I. Hanson II subsequently proved to be the largest part of the site and provided evidence of Folsom activity. Main site features consist of activity areas believed to represent former lodge structures. Radiocarbon dating from the Hanson Site has yielded dates of 10,700 + 670 years ago and 10,080 + 330 years ago. The site also has some value as a paleontological site since deeper and older levels have yielded some evidence of a late Pleistocene fauna.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources