Last updated: 1/17/05; 11:43:10 PM

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Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

Bonneville Estates Rockshelter near West Wendover, Nevada, USA

This is looking east at the rockshelter from where you would park your still unnamed vehicle at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter near West Wendover, Nevada, USA. These are scans of photos I took with a disposable camera on the morning I left to return home. I did the best I could with them.

crew at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

Standing on the colluvium outside the rockshelter looking in (west northwest). The main trench is left center and the smaller excavation is just to the right (north) and behind the group of people. They are (l-r) Kelly Graf (project co-director, Anthropology grad student at UNR), Pat Barker (BLM State Archaeologist and Sundance Research Associate), Ted Geobel (UNR), and Bryan Hockett (BLM).

Dr. Bryan Hockett, Ph.D. at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

Bryan Hockett (Zooarchaeologist, project co-director, BLM Elko District Archaeologist) starts his day in the north excavation doing paperwork. Those dangly things [a technical term ] are plumments secured to the rock above which are used in conjunction with hand-held plumb bobs to maintain horizontal control (the grid). There are about 45 hearths (fire pits) exposed in the south wall (to Bryan's right) of this block excavation. Bryan is getting ready to record a small bed of butchered Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana) bones in association with one of the hearths.

Dr. Ted Goebel, Ph.D. at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

"Hey Ted!" My once and perhaps future advisor Ted Goebel (project co-director, UNR Anthropology Faculty, Executive Director and Field Director of the Sundance Research Project) stands up and looks over the south edge of the north pit at my request.

archaeological trench at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

Looking south at the main trench from the north excavation.

archaeological trench at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

You can see some of the stratigraphy in the main trench. There are bits of prehistoric cordage, coiled baskets, many hearths, and other archaeological materials exposed in this profile. At the very bottom in the back (west) is where a hearth yielded a 10,080 ± 80 BP (years ago) radiocarbon date. It is not really apparent in this photo, but there is a large plastic sheet in the back sealing an exploratory 1x1 meter pit that goes down another 1.5+ meters to the 14,500 year old, non-cultural, Lake Bonneville high stand beach gravels. There could be some truly old archaeological strata uncovered next year.

archaeological trench at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

This is a portion of the stratigraphic profile in the main trench we mapped while I was there. This is Archaeology with a capital "A". The string grid provides the horizontal control over here. Both methods (plumments and string grids) have advantages and disadvantages. Do you want to strangle yourself or keep hitting yourself in the head?

looking northeast into the basin of extinct Pleistocene Lake Bonneville from Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

Looking more or less northeast from the shelter. In the distance you can see all the way to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the middle upper left. Bear in mind that you are standing on the 14,500 year old beach line of Pleistocene Lake Bonneville looking into the extinct lake's basin. The highest point in the picture (to the right) would have been an island then. There are two wave-cut benches on the right side of the bluff that give you an idea of where to mentally fill the ancient lake to. It was bigger than Lake Superior. I can usually do such mental exercises, but for some reason I can't put that much water out there. Sparks fly and smoke comes out of my ears.

"Usul, tell me of your home world." -- Dune (Frank Herbert)

Copyright 2005 © Hal Rager