Archaeology talk at the Green River Valley Museum
Archaeologist Dave Vlcek
Archaeologist Dave Vlcek has had a long career with the Pinedale Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management.
Jonah Field archaeology
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
November 6, 2007
BLM Archaeologist Dave Vlcek gave a talk about archaeology at the Green River Valley Museum Monday night. The talk was the final program of the season for the Museum. Here he shows slides of human bones that were excavated near Pinedale this summer. The bones were identified as the remains of six people and dated back to around 1,000 years old.
Oil and gas activity in the Jonah Field and Pinedale Anticline has resulted in the discovery of many more buried archaeological sites than anyone had imagined in that barren area. Sites have been found during earthwork preparation for drilling sites, pipeline excavation and new roads. Each time something is found, work stops and the archaeologists are brought in to access the find. Some are excavated, others are merely documented and work is allowed to progress. Some house pits have been found that radio carbon date back 8,000 years or more. On occassion, human remains are found. These have ranged in age from historic to 7,000 years plus.
As part of a new programatic agreement to streamline development out in the Jonah Field, archaeologists will get 500 square meters of excavating space to dig on anywhere out in the Jonah Field every year. That equates to two to three sites they will get to excavate. "Now we have the funding to dig the really good sites," Vlcek said. "Check back with us in two to three years to see the results," he said.
Out in the Jonah natural gas field, 60% of the archaeological sites are 4,000 years of age or older. 25% are 6,000 years old or older, Vlcek said. "Jonah is special because it has dozens and dozens of sites that are 6,000 years old or older," he said. "Jonah is a good place for archaelology and a good place for an oilfield." Prior to development in the Jonah Field, archaeologists had only discovered three to four sites. "Now we're swimming in data," Vlcek said. The new agreement will allow them to set aside and excavate the best sites.
Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!