The Natural Bridge State Park has been n our list for a while. A short hike, some climbing to the top, some pretending we were cavemen eating our cavemen picnic food. A nice little lesson in poison ivy, and then a nice trip home through the farmland.
Natural Bridge State Park is an 530-acre Wisconsin state park featuring the largest natural arch in the state. Directly beneath the arch is a rock shelter once used by Paleo-Indians. The park is located southwest of Baraboo between the unincorporated communities of Leland and Denzer, in the town of Honey Creek. The park is on the edge of the Baraboo Range in an unglaciated Driftless Area of south-central Wisconsin. Outcrops of sandstone deposited 1.6 billion years ago jut out of the tops of these hills.
An archaeological excavation of the rock shelter was conducted in 1957 by Warren L. Wittry of the Wisconsin Historical Society. His team found evidence of human use over a long time period. The remains of 50 vertebrate and 15 mollusc species were identified. The oldest artifacts were pieces of charred wood, presumably from fire pits, which were dated to between 9000 and 8000 BCE. This would make the rock shelter “one of the oldest dated sites for human occupancy in northeastern North America,” according to a sign in the park.