Forests near Yellowstone hold traces of human habitation dating back millennia

The greater Yellowstone area is cherished for its unspoiled landscapes and abundant wildlife. But it’s hardly a region that most people think of as an archaeological treasure trove. Most people, though, are wrong to think that.

Archaeologist Larry Todd, kneeling, shows dozens of artifacts marked with small flags in the Shoshone National Forest during a July field trip sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

That’s the viewpoint of Larry Todd, an archaeologist who grew up in Meeteetse, near the eastern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and surrounded by the Shoshone National Forest. Todd has worked for more than 30 years studying traces left by ancient peoples in places as diverse as France, Ukraine and Ethiopia, as well as teaching in Colorado and Wyoming.

But for the past decade, he has stayed close to home, studying remote and rugged archaeological sites in northwestern Wyoming, including along the Wood River area near Meeteetse.

“You’re living in one of the great gems of natural and cultural resources you’re going to find anywhere,” Todd told a group in July during a field trip to the Double D Ranch sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

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