The National Geographic Society has agreed to help finance continued exploration in two Wyoming sites where traces of early man were discovered last summer. The work is part of a joint Harvard-University of Wyoming project, and will involve 7 or 8 Harvard students.
Last July, while drilling for oil at Chicken Springs, Wyo., construction workers uncovered the bones of a Columbia mammoth. A team of Harvard students working in Wyoming under the direction of George Irwin 1G and Cynthia C. Irwin 3G quickly joined a crew of University of Wyoming professors and students in the tedious work of digging in the swampy pit.
Before closing the site in early September, the researchers had extracted the near-perfect skeleton of the mammoth, and bones of an elk, a deer, a wolf, and a huge pre-historic bison from the muck. Of even more significance than the spectacular mammoth bones, parts of stone knives were found which give indications that the mammoth was killed by manlike beings more than 12,000 years ago. The artifacts are among the earliest remains of man found in the Rocky Mountain region.
This summer an effort will be made to recover the scattered bones of the bison, which was apparently butchered at the site. The muck of the springs is such a splendid preservative that even traces of pollen and animal hair as well as the fine bone specimens have been recovered, according to Miss Irwin. Work at the site is dangerous, as the muck tends to trap students in the same way it sucked in animals.
In addition to further digging at Chicken Springs, the National Geographic grant provides for work at the Hell Gap site near Guernsey, Wyoming.
A Milton Fund grant will help pay for Hell Gap work.