Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Secrets That Lie Beneath Our Feet


The Colorado foothills are a transition zone between the plains and low relief hills and the adjacent topographically higher mountains, hills, and uplands.  Native Americans often hunted on the plains but used the foothills to make their winter camps as they had views of potential enemies and often found sources of water from creeks and giant red rocks and caves to use as shelters.



The prehistoric natives date back more than 12,000 years. Archeological evidence suggests that the first people to appear in Colorado were the big game hunters (or Paleoindians), probably from the north. These people are divided into the Clovis and subsequent Folsom cultures. Archeologists distinguish the two cultures by their different types of spear points. The Clovis people are often called the “mammoth hunters,” while the later Folsom people are the “bison hunters.” These people marked the beginning of a big-game hunting tradition that lasted thousands of years until historic times.  I blogged about a wonderful discovery of Clovis era stone tools found in the Boulder area on this post. 

 

Many Natives American tribes lived in Colorado but the most common was the Utes who were hunters and gatherers.  They acquired horses from the Spanish conquistadors, who were the first Europeans to visit Colorado. The Ute lifestyle changed dramatically with horses, giving them more mobility. Once primarily defensive warriors, they became adept horsemen and warriors, able to raid other tribes. Prestige was based upon a man’s horsemanship, as well as the number of horses he owned. 

A few years ago, my husband and I attended an archeological dig that was performed by the Colorado Archeological Society (CAS) in a nearby county--click here to read that post-- where many ancient artifacts were found, including some artifacts from the Spanish explorer era. 



 

Very often red rock overhangs and caves along the front range of Colorado were used as shelters and artifacts are often found in these areas on various archeological digs. In fact, 33 past archeological digs have been conducted in our area in the past with many discoveries made.

This all brings us to a recent archeological dig that was performed in our community recently, but instead of near red rocks, it was done on a foothill, where years of erosion had revealed a dark black burn area.  A resident of the community, who is an archeology professor, found an ancient tool rock tool called a mano in this area while he was on a hike.  You or I would most likely have passed right by that rock and this burn area, but to the resident's trained eye he realized it was a discovery of ancient life.  Our community history committee decided this was a discovery worth exploring and we contacted an archeology company to do a private dig and evaluative testing of the site.



The archeologists excavated the burn area and samples were collected for radiocarbon assays to date the artifacts.  It takes a while for results from these tests, but the archeologists felt this was a fire pit most likely used by hunters from the past to cook wild game. They estimated they were from the Early Ceramic Period 150–1150 CE.  It is fascinating to think of evidence of man from so long ago!



Archeological digs are painstaking work requiring many hours of minute digging and passing rubble through screens to check for any object pieces that are identifiable. Anything significant is removed for examination and sent to labs for further study as well as portions of the soil which were collected for radiocarbon assay. The hope is to find spearheads, arrowheads, ancient awls, bones, and pieces of cooking tools, and other hunting weapons.   We will be excited to find the exact dates of the samples and what other evidence could be analyzed. I'll update this post when that information comes in. 




Isn't it amazing what secrets lie literally beneath our feet? 



I feel fortunate to live in such an interesting place and to be able to be a part of these discoveries.  We are also blessed to be among many volunteers in our community who are devoting time and energy to help advance our knowledge of the past and to preserve it for the future.

Thank you for reading my post--I hope you found it interesting

Stay happy, safe, and healthy!

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45 comments:

Dawn said...

How cool to be able to volunteer in such a project and possible unravel some mysteries of the past. That's exciting. Thanks for sharing and I hope to see an update.
Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

That is exciting!

Barbara Rogers said...

How great...fabulous to hear about the folks who lived in your area so many years ago...and to see an archaeological dig happening right in your neighborhood.

Rain said...

Hi Pat :) How lucky that you participated in that dig! What fun and I'm sure you have awesome memories! Those rock formations are beautiful! :)

Karen said...

A beautiful area! It must have been fascinating to see all those artifacts as they were revealed!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a really neat thing to be able to do! I know I would love it too. It's so interesting to find out more about people that have lived there in the past! Enjoy your week!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I love the great outdoors in the Mountain West!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Definitely interesting and exciting! I am glad your archeologist neighbor kept his eyes on the ground while he hiked and I am glad your committee carried through on finding the archeology company to follow through . I did not even know there were such private companies and fund that fascinating. Again, I am so in awe of the way you two have embraced and given back to your community.

Joanne said...

OH wow! What a neat experience.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Very interesting .

stevebethere said...

What an interesting post I liked all the fab photos too

Have an artifacttastic safe week 😷😷😷

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I've always wanted to volunteer on a dig. Wonderful!

Trekking with Becky said...

What a wonderful experience in such a beautiful setting! :) I definitely would have a hard time focusing with all the beautiful rock formations in sight.

Beth said...

Very interesting, Pat! We saw an archeological dig site in Greece and it, too, was fascinating.

Tanza Erlambang said...

exciting archeological works...and thank you for sharing very beautiful photos.

Have a wonderful day

NCSue said...

Fascinating! So glad you shared this at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/11/a-letter-found-at-world-war-ii-memorial.html

ellen b. said...

We've watched a few shows on TV where digs are in the theme. It really takes a lot of perseverance for this kind of work.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

That's very cool!! Archeologists have learned a lot on where to look for such things. In the pipeline industry we had to be very careful to avoid such areas.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Pat, this is very interesting! I'm fascinated by the tedious work of the folks that work to uncover the mysteries of the past. I can see how this was an enjoyable time for you! Have a happy week!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Very cool Pat. My son had a friend who lived in a house that dated back to Colonial times. They were always digging in his back yard and finding arrowheads and old bottles. I hope your dig turns up something valuable!

Angie said...

Pat - this is fascinating. I often wonder if there might be some artifacts around here - always keeping my eye out! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

eileeninmd said...

Hello,Pat

What an interesting experience! The archeologist dig is fascinating. I love the landscapes and beautiful view. Great post and photos. Take care, stay safe! Have a happy day!

Lydia C. Lee said...

Wow! That's so fantastic.

Jeanie said...

Twelve thousand years. That just blows my mind. I loved "joining you" on the dig. How interesting? I really admire how careful, cautious and patient these archaeologists must be as they so carefully dig, sometimes a teaspoon full at a time.

NanaHood said...

That's so cool! You make me want to come to Colorado right away....after the Pandemic ends.

Villrose said...

An interesting, fascinating and sad history.

Crafty Green Poet said...

What an interesting place to explore,

MarilynsTreats said...

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Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
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MarilynsTreats said...

********************************************************
Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
********************************************************

Powell River Books said...

Looking into the past is both interesting and important. Archeologists and student workers have unearth middens (old piles of shells and discards) from our Tla'amin First Nation. Because of the residential school practice in Canada much old oral history was lost. Investigations help fill in gaps. - Margy

Little Wandering Wren said...

It's on my bucket list to be a volunteer on an archaeological dig - what an awesome experience!

Little Wandering Wren said...

It is on my bucket list to volunteer on an archaeological dig - you obviously live in a fascinating area, looking forward to the next updates Pat.
Wren x

Cheryl said...

What a wonderful and interesting place you live in! And how exciting to do some digging around to find historical artifacts. The photos are lovely, thanks for sharing this part of the world with us. Have a great end of the week.

Yvonne said...

There are secrets beneath our feet wherever we go, I guess. It's exciting when one is discovered. It's good to explore the ground along with the scenery. I've found some pretty amazing things throughout my life that still line my shelves. Interesting post.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

I'm fascinated by this stuff. My wife says I'm obsessed! So many parallels here between what you see in your area and what I see in Joshua Tree, including shelters, manos, rock art, and all the rest. Fun stuff!

Tom said...

...painstaking work!

Michele Morin said...

You DO live in an interesting part of the world!

Dixie @ Arranged Words said...

How intriguing to be a part of an archaeological dig!
I’ve found a few fossils, but my sister has unearthed some
interesting items, but nothing that compares.
My that’s a long time ago. I am looking forward to updates.
Thank you for you visit.
Enjoy the weekend...
Dixie

Small City Scenes said...

Oh so interesting. What lies beneath our feet is yes indeed a whole 'nother world. On the ranch where my daughter lives in the channeled scablands of eastern Washington are strange mounds and caves. Researched by the local University many Native artifacts were found.
MB

rupam sarma said...

Great post.

Lowcarb team member said...

Great photographs on your post here.
How amazing to take part in a project like this and to possibly discover more about the past ...

All the best Jan

Michelle said...

I am impressed that your neighbor ran across that while hiking. I am usually trying not to trip over anything! lol What a neat thing that you were able to participate in a dig. Thanks for linking up and keep us posted!

betty-NZ said...

I truly enjoyed reading your post and also find such relics fascinating. You have a beautiful state to explore and the remains of days gone by make it even more interesting.

Thanks for sharing your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

diane b said...

Wow just finding an ancient artefact on a hike must have been exciting for your friend and the community.

Stone Cottage Adventures said...

Absolutely fascinating and I love your photos! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures