National Park Service



Robert Blasing

Date of this Version



Published in CRM: CULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 1 (2000). Published by the US National Park Service.


Medicine Creek is a tributary which flows southeast into the Republican River, which in turn contributes to the Kansas River. The drainage basin is in southwest Nebraska and is about 75 km or 50 miles in length. It drains an area of slightly under 700 square miles.
Medicine Creek Reservoir (Reservoir) was completed in 1949. It was built primarily to control destructive flooding on both the Medicine and Republican drainages. It is also part of the Frenchman-Cambridge Irrigation Project, administered by the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation).
The area around the Reservoir is covered by a deep mantel of wind blown or water redeposited loess, which has enhanced the burial and preservation of archeological sites. The terraces of this deposit have themselves been the focus of scientific inquiry. Where bedrock is exposed, it is the Cretaceous Niobrara Formation, which includes a major source of raw material for prehistoric stone tools. This material is usually called Niobrara, Smoky Hill or Republican River Jasper, and it occasionally occurs in numerous beds which may be several feet thick at a given exposure.