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Rimrock Draw Rockshelter Field Trip

  • 18 Jul 2023
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Rimrock Draw Rockshelter Field Trip

When: Tuesday July 18, 2023

Lead: Dr. Pat O’Grady

Coordinator: Tom Machala

Trip Recap

Thirteen ASCO members from Bend, Medford, and Spokane Rendezvoused 40 miles outside of Burns off Hwy 20 to head to the site at 0930. Dr. O'Grady was waiting for us at the site. His time was valuable with us as recently released information about the site's age had attracted a lot of inquiries. He had an interview with OPB by cell phone at Noon. He introduce us to his group and recounted the past work and current wrap up work he was trying to do. However, an exceptionally wet winter and spring had left trenches filled with water and ground water seeping into there pits, complete with live toads. ASCO brought cold treats for the crew with a few left over for ASCO members' lunch deserts.

Trip Registration & Itinerary

Signups begin online: Tuesday, July 4th at 8 AM
Participants: 15

photo Scott McKenzie

This is the last opportunity for ASCO to visit this site. Dr. Pat O’Grady will be finishing up his field research during the summer field school, then concentrate on data interpretation and write-ups of his findings.

We will meet Dr. O'Grady at Rimrock DrawRock Shelter where he and his University of Oregon students and Oregon Archeological Society volunteers will be working. This is an exciting opportunity to learn about this important site and get an update on the current work. Ancient mammal remains and human made artifacts have been found in very close association, which may make it one of the oldest sites in North America.

Dr. O’Grady, along with volunteers and field students from the University of Oregon, has been working at the Rimrock Draw Rockshelter every summer since 2011. The first excavations in 2011-12 extended to a depth of 12 feet, below a layer of large boulders and a lens of volcanic ash, and yielded animal tooth fragments and a beautiful piece of orange agate that had been flaked along the edges to make it into a multi-tool with different surfaces for different functions. The ash turned out to have been from Mt. Saint Helens and was dated at 15,000 to 16,000 years. Work in subsequent years has been to extend the excavation along and perpendicular to the outcropping. Preliminary dates from camel teeth fragments found under the St Helens ash and bison tooth fragments from a second pit, but at the same depths, are in the range of 16-17,000 years. are ancient mammal remains and human made artifacts in very close association. With such an old date, the site is one of the oldest in North America.

This will be an all-day trip roughly (7:45 Am to 3:30 PM). It is bound to be hot with plenty of sun, some walking over uneven ground, a slim possibility of rattlers, and the need for a good hat, sunscreen, adequate water and a sack lunch.

  • We will drive about 2 hours towards Burns to the site.

  • The trip will conclude after lunch and is limited to 15 people.

  • Click HERE for details on Rimrock Draw by U of O Field Study Site

General Itinerary

07:45 AM - Gather at west end of the Walgreens parking lotoff Hwy 20 to check-in (across 27th Street south of Hwy 20 going towards Burns) 

08:00 AM - Depart for Brothers Rest Stop (rest rooms)

08:50 A M - Depart Brothers Rest Stop for Rimrock Draw Rock Shelter turnoff past MP 91

09:45 AM - Convene at Gap Ranch Wagontire Road (south turn just past Milepost 91)

10:00 AM- Arrive at Rimrock site 2.5 miles south on Gap Ranch Wagontire Road DUSTY gravel road.

12:00 PM- Sack Lunch, (ASCO provides frozen treats for students and staff)

12:30 PM - Return to Bend 

For the safety of the group, ASCO is also implementing the following:

  •  ASCO will not organize car-pooling but you may do so if you wish at Walgreens.

  • All participants must check the Field Trip Waiver when you register online

  •  All participants must be a member of ASCO.

Mailing address: PO Box 8146 Bend, Oregon 97708-8146

Email: ascoinfomail@gmail.com

"Archaeological Society of Central Oregon" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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