• The Agate Fossil Hills where mammal fossils were excavated in the early 1900's

    Agate Fossil Beds

    National Monument Nebraska

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Park phone lines intermittently out of service

    If you cannot reach the park by phone, please click the Contact Us link on the left side of this page to email a ranger. Staff will call or email back during business hours.

History & Culture

Cook Gallery entrance

Entrance to the Cook Collection

During this time of scientific exploration other gatherings took place at the Agate Springs Ranch. Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota Sioux and many of his friends and family members would make the 150 mile trip by wagon from the Pine Ridge Reservation. While staying at the ranch they hunted, worked for James Cook, and butchered beef they were given, tanned hides, told stories and danced. Many residents of the surrounding area remember going to the ranch to watch and participate in the dancing and singing. From the gifts given through a friendship forged between the cultures this extraordinary collection of American Indian artifacts became known as the James H. Cook Collection. Special items such as Red Cloud's shirt and three generations of pipebags as well as items of daily use are included in the collection.

Did You Know?

The Fossil Hills, containing the main excavation sites. Carnegie Hill on the right, and University (of Nebraska) Hill on the left.

At Agate Fossil Beds many years separated different excavations. In 1981 University of Nebraska scientists screened the soil near a 1908 Carnegie excavation site and found a beardog tibia fragment fitting one found in the earlier dig. This site also revealed actual beardog dens. More...