U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Protohistoric and Historic Native Americans/Ute Culture|
The Protohistoric Era (c. AD 1,300-1881), as it is termed by archaeologists, refers to the span of time from the end of semi-settled, horticultural adaptations in the region to the end of permanent Native American occupation in Northwest Colorado. After c. AD 1800 the term “Historic Period” would be more technically correct, though, as a label, “Protohistoric” is used to differentiate Native American and Euroamerican sites, as the former are poorly represented in our written histories.
According to contact-period written records, Shoshone and possibly Comanches occupied northern areas of the Yampa River drainage, though the Ute unquestionably dominated western Colorado. In the White River Resource Area, Utes appear to have been the only long-term inhabitants since at least the end of the Formative Period.
Protohistoric Ute archaeology is an expanding field at this time, with major research projects currently underway. Archaeologists of the Dominguez Archaeological Research Group, supported in part by the BLM, are making substantial contributions to our understanding of Ute history. Approaching the subject from an archaeological perspective, the data generated by such researchers will combine with extant oral and written histories to help us all better understand the culture and history of Utes before and during early European contact. Check back for updates in upcoming years, as more information becomes available.
Ute rock art and wickiups