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The Arthur Ross Terrace will be closed this morning, Tuesday, October 21, for a private cultural observance. You many observe smoke and/or fire coming from the Terrace at that time. The FDNY has been notified in advance, and all safety precautions are in place. The Terrace will reopen at 1 pm.

Gatecliff, Nevada, 1977

Logistical constraints


Life in a Rock Shelter
Rock shelters provide safety and security for ancient people and extraordinary preservation of ancient artifacts for archaeologists. In 1970, David Thomas discovered the Gatecliff shelter in the Monitor Valley of Nevada -- which proved to be a popular living place for Archaic people and animals alike. The shelter, while only some 200 ft. wide, contained over 12m of archaeological deposits. Dr. Thomas discovered that the shelter was first used by humans around 5500 years ago, and was occupied on and off for the next 5000 years.

Inside the shelter


During excavations (which were painstakingly slow and plagued by dust and logistical difficulties of hauling each bucket of dirt 40 feet up and out of the cave), the team discovered campsites complete with grinding tools, projectile points, campfires and etched stone. The shelter was also a temporary home to dozens of species of animals - the remains of whom shed light on the ecology and environment of the area around the shelter.

Excavations


Accessing the site


Gatecliff location


American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
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