This is Ross Lake in the Northern Wind River Range, Wyo., where I worked last summer with Richard Adams from the Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist. I organized and helped lead two surveys to locate previously unknown archaeological sites above 10,500 feet. Our project located more than 30 archaeological sites between 8,000 and 200 years old, aided by a computer-based geographic information system (GI S) I designed with my anthropology professor, Bill Ringle. Using GI S, we located and recorded nine late prehistoric villages. We hope our work will shed light on prehistoric mountain adaptation in North America, and ultimately prove that life at high altitudes was not difficult, as many contemporary anthropologists argue. After graduation, I’ll return to continue my research—I hope to discover more villages, locate perishable artifacts in ice patches, and excavate discoveries from past summers. It’s beautiful in these mountains—you can’t help but feel happy when you’re up here.
—Matt Stirn ’11