Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Spanish Diggings


At one time the state of Wyoming wanted to add the area of the Spanish Diggings north and east of the park to Guernsey State Park.

 Very little is known of the first inhabitants of the American west. The people before the horse came into everyday use. The horse made movement much easier and spurred on the hunting culture of the first tribes to live in the Great Plains and mountain west.
But we know there were people here before the horse, long before, in the case of the Spanish Diggings in Platte and Niobrara counties Wyoming. The diggings could be as new as, 300 years, but most archeologists guess they are closer to several thousand years of age. Best guess’s put the age at around 5,000 years.
Before being picked over by souvenir hunters and amateur archeologists the diggings showed a rich history of early Indian activities, long before the better known, westward expansion and Indian wars time. Hand axes, scrappers, grinders, choppers, hoes, arrowheads, spearheads and the stone hammers they used to chip away material to make the implements were found by the dozens. The dark brown and gray quartzite, from the diggings, was especially popular because of its extreme hardness and ability to sharpen to a nice edge.
The quarries were worked for many years, as evidenced by the debt of the digs, in some places up to 30 feet. Universities and historians continue to study the area but most of what we know about these first people is pure speculation.
What we do know is that activities by early people took place in Wyoming over 4,000 years before the first European reached American soil.
Don’t we all wish time-travel was possible so that we could go back and take a look? Who knows? Life then might look pretty good to many of us today.
The Museum in the park has a nice display about the Spanish Diggings.
Find the Spanish Diggings display here
If you have never visited the museum, why not this summer? You will love it!