Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

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Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
An aerial photo of University and Carnegie hills
University and Carnegie Hills fossil beds
A map of the United State showing the location of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
A map of the United State showing the location of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
A map of the United State showing the location of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
A map of the United State showing the location of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
LocationSioux County, Nebraska, United States
Nearest cityHarrison, NE
Coordinates42°25′18″N 103°45′14″W / 42.421703°N 103.75388°W / 42.421703; -103.75388Coordinates: 42°25′18″N 103°45′14″W / 42.421703°N 103.75388°W / 42.421703; -103.75388[1]
Area3,057.87 acres (12.3748 km2)[2]
EstablishedJune 14, 1997
Visitors15,555 (in 2016)[3]
Governing bodyNational Park Service
WebsiteAgate Fossil Beds National Monument

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is a U.S. National Monument near Harrison, Nebraska. The main features of the monument are a valley of the Niobrara River and the fossils found on Carnegie Hill and University Hill.

The area largely consists of grass-covered plains. Plants on the site include prairie sandreed, blue grama, little bluestem and needle and thread grass, and the wildflowers lupin, spiderwort, western wallflower and sunflowers.


Entrance to the monument
Map of Agate Fossil Beds

The site is best known for a large number of well-preserved Miocene fossils, many of which were found at dig sites on Carnegie and University Hills. Fossils from the Harrison Formation and Anderson Ranch Formation, which date to the Arikareean in the North American land mammal classification, about 20 to 16.3 million years ago, are among some of the best specimens of Miocene mammals.[4]

Species found at Agate include:

Originally the Agate Springs Ranch, a working cattle ranch, was owned by Capt. James Cook. The monument's museum collection also contains more than 500 artifacts from the Cook Collection of Plains Indians artifacts.

The national monument was authorized on June 5, 1965, but was not established until June 14, 1997. The Harold J. Cook Homestead (Bone Cabin Complex) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.[7] Agate Fossil Beds is maintained by the National Park Service.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument will feature in the upcoming documentary Forgotten Bloodlines: Agate, slated for release in 2022.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Agate Fossil Beds National Monument". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  2. ^ "Listing of acreage – December 31, 2011" (XLSX). Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved March 18, 2012. (National Park Service Acreage Reports)
  3. ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  4. ^ Graham, John Paul. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument: geologic resources inventory report. OCLC 1127651017.
  5. ^ "Mammal Fossils". Agate Fossil Beds. National Park Service. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Unexpected Treasures on Nebraska's High Plains: Agate Fossil Beds National Monument". Retrieved 2022-01-17.
  7. ^ "Nebraska National Register Sites in Sioux County". Nebraska State Historical Society. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ "Agate Fossil Beds National Monument". U.S. National Park Service. Archived from the original on December 2, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  9. ^ @digital_duck (25 December 2020). "I'm very excited to announce a..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]