Keynote Address: Mining Paint at the Powars II Site, Platte County, Wyoming

September 26, 2020 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Speaker: Dr. Spencer Pelton



Abstract:    The Powars II Paleoindian Red Ocher Quarry, located in Sunrise, WY, is one of only a handful of prehistoric ocher quarries discovered globally. Excavations conducted during the last several years have yielded a large assemblage of early and middle Paleoindian artifacts situated within a 2-meter-thick deposit of red ocher quarry tailings produced 11 to 13 thousand years ago by some of Wyoming’s first residents. Major findings from excavation in the intact portion of the site include quarry pit features, several dozen Paleoindian spear points, bone and antler digging implements, and incised bone objects. This presentation will summarize the history of investigations, major findings, and ongoing historic preservation efforts at the site.


Dr. Spencer Pelton received his PhD from the University of Wyoming in 2018 and became the Wyoming State Archaeologist in November, 2019. Spencer primarily researches the early Prehistory of the High Plains and Rocky Mountains, but also maintains interests in global human dispersal and the peopling of the Americas. Spencer conducts excavations at several Paleoindian sites in Wyoming, most recently at the Powars II red ocher quarry and the Sisters Hill site. Spencer splits his time between Laramie and Douglas, WY with his wife Hallie and their dog Cashew.