October 29, 2022 | Last updated Apr 26, 2023

2017 Lake McConaughy Archeology Survey

In 2017 archeologists from History Nebraska surveyed a section of land near Ogallala at the request of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The landscape was rugged to say the least. The survey area was very high and overlooked the North Platte River Valley. Three Native American archeological sites were discovered. One of the sites was at the highest point in the project area and provided an unobstructed view for miles in all directions.

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View from Site Looking Southwest

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View from Site looking North

The site consisted of a scatter of chipped stone tools and debris and some bone fragments. Most of the artifacts were found on an eroding slope, but some were found in situ in the steep bluff side. Visible in the bluff was a buried soil about a meter below the modern ground surface. Several artifacts as well as a concentration of fire cracked rock were found associated with the buried soil. The location of the site made measurements difficult, but not impossible.

It is unlikely that people lived permanently at the location, as is it is far from water, but it is easy to image Native American groups camping at the spot for a few days to watch for herds of bison moving through the North Platte Valley. Chipped stone debris and discarded tools were found as well along with a small amount of bone fragments lend further support the site’s identification as a short term hunting camp.

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Archeologists Flagging Artifacts.

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Broken Chipped Stone Tool

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Taking Measurements

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Measuring the Depth of the Buried Soil

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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