Alaska:

GULKANA RIVER SURVEYS

Project Description and Objectives: In FY 2003, BLM’s Glennallen Field Office began the first year of a proposed four- to five-year project to survey the Gulkana Wild River. The main goal of this survey is to provide a baseline for the cultural resources that BLM manages along the river, along with potential impacts from all types of users. The second goal of the survey is to fill a gap in the prehistoric record for the Copper River Basin. The object is to identify and correlate the early to middle Holocene occupations in the Tangle Lakes with correspondingly old occupations in the Copper Basin.

During the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, the Copper Basin provided a large lakeshore environment superficially similar to the lacustrine environment that was exploited in the Tangle Lakes by the well-documented crafters of Denali Complex tool kits. It is also surmised that subsequent to the draining of Pleistocene Lake Ahtna, around 9400 B.P., the Copper Basin became more attractive to human occupation. At that time, the Gulkana River would have provided a travel corridor between the Tangle Lakes and the newly exposed basin’s resources. A related proposed research project will add information on the age of the numerous strandline features in this area by analyzing pollen samples from bluff exposures and nearby kettle lakes.

This project will be conducted as a joint project between the BLM and the Geology Department of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Study Methods: The Gulkana River Survey Project itself is broken into two phases: a random sample survey grid and a geoarchaeological probabilistic survey. The first two years of survey focused on over 2,350 acres of random sample units with a small amount—about 539 acres—of probabilistic survey along the Gulkana’s Main stem and Middle Fork. This resulted in the location of five sites within random sample units and another 13 sites in probabilistic surveys. Also notable was the aerial location of possible fossil strandlines of Pleistocene Lake Ahtna in the vicinity of Canyon Lake and Canyon Rapids, as well as two nearby buried sites, which were located over the past two years. A related proposed research project will add information on the age of the numerous strandline features in this area through analysis of pollen samples from bluff exposures and nearby kettle lakes.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact: John Jangala, Bureau of Land Management, Glennallen Field Office, P.O. Box 147, Glennallen, AK 99588; email: John_Jangala@ak.blm.gov; telephone: (907) 822-3217

Gulkana River Survey Project

 

WHITE MOUNTAINS CAVING PROJECT

Project Description and Objectives: From 2002 to 2005 eight surveys exploring natural, biological and cultural characteristics of karstic features took place in the Limestone Gulch area of the White Mountains National Recreation Area (WMNRA). The WMNRA, managed by the Bureau of Land Management – Fairbanks District Office (FDO) is a nearly 1 million acre contiguous land unit located in central-eastern interior Alaska. The primary goal of the surveys were to gather basic natural and historical information by, primarily, non-experts, in order to highlight the nature of the resources available in this largely unsurveyed area. Experts in specific fields (e.g., paleontologists; large mammal biologists; recreationists) can now use the data gathered to better plan their own field studies.

Study Methods: The surveyors were mostly volunteers from various outdoor backgrounds and specialties (i.e., spelunkers; plant and bird specialists; archaeologists; quaternary paleoecologist; recreation specialists). Basic information about each karst feature discovered (e.g., caves, rockshelters, natural arches) was recorded, including (1) location, (2) the nature of the karst feature, in terms of the presence of various caving features, as well as quantifiable measurements, (3) cultural/archaeological attributes, (4) paleontological attributes, (5) mammalian biological attributes, including bats, (6) avian biological attributes, (7) geological attributes, (8) hydrological attributes, and (9) vegetational attributes. In addition, a standard suite of photos of each karst feature was recorded, and simple top view/ plan view maps were recorded for each rock shelter or cave feature. Where feasible, a standard test pit was also excavated inside each cave or rock shelter to assess its buried archaeological and paleontological potential, and the basic stratigraphy of each test pit recorded.

Despite our 2004 and 2005 field seasons being seriously curtailed owing to two of the worst Alaska fire seasons on record, approximately 3,350 acres were 100% ground covered by pedestrian survey during this project, and 102 karstic features were located and recorded. Of these, 12 are natural stone arches, with the remainder being caves and rock shelters. No cultural resources were encountered during the survey, although four caves contained paleontological materials were discovered, including one cave with a bison bone dating to 13,500 years ago. A wealth of present-day biological data was also recorded, and will be presented in detail in our final report.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact: Robin O. Mills, Bureau of Land Management, Fairbanks District Office; email: Robin_Mills@ak.blm.gov; telephone: (907) 474-2359

Alaska's White Mountains

Photo of a typical cave in the White Mountains

test pit digging in cave. BLM volunteer Robert Sattler


 

 

Arizona:

EXPERIMENTAL LASER SCANNING OF PREHISTORIC ROCK ART IN THE AGUA FRIA NATIONAL MONUMENT

Project Description and Objectives: BLM’s Agua Fria National Monument (AFNM), in partnership with Arizona State University’s Deer Valley Rock Art Center (DVRAC), is supporting research to conduct experimental laser scanning of prehistoric rock art. The research will use three-dimensional (3-D) laser scanning, a relatively new and innovative method of rock art recording. The study will evaluate the suitability of this technology to digitally record rock art and its environmental context. The study will also evaluate whether laser scanning can help determine age differences among rock art elements at a particular location.

An additional objective of the study is to compare the cost effectiveness, efficiency and accuracy of alternative recording methods including: traditional approaches using 35 mm photography and drawings from string grids or related tools; digital photography with measurements obtained from images stored in a computer database; and high-resolution laser scanning and 3-D modeling.

In 2003, the DVRAC and the AFNM established a partnership to document, research, and protect the large number of impressive rock art sites in the national monument. DVRAC staff and volunteers have contributed more than 1,500 hours in the documentation and analysis of rock art at the Baby Canyon Pueblo. Volunteers from the Arizona Archaeological Society have also recorded a number of rock art sites. These efforts have sparked the creation of a new organization, the Arizona Rock Art Coalition, whose members meet several times a year to discuss recording techniques and methodological issues.

Study Methods: The study will take place at the Badger Springs site (AZ N:16:180 (MNA)) and the Arrastre Creek site (AZ N:16:70 (MNA)). Both sites contain petroglyphs, the type of rock art produced by pecking images into the surfaces of rock outcrops and boulders. Volunteers from the Arizona Archaeological Society have recently documented rock art at both sites using traditional, labor-intensive recording methods. Two of these volunteers have also developed a computerized database from digital photography at the Badger Springs site. They are determining how useful it is to take various measurements directly from the photographs. These volunteers plan to participate in the work at the Arrastre Creek site. The previous recording efforts will provide important data for the laser scanning tasks, as well as useful information for comparing the recording methods.

Laser scanning instruments will be used to record the majority of individual rock art panels at the Badger Springs site. The scanning tasks at the Arrastre Creek site, which is much larger and more complex, will focus on specific collections of panels within the site. Scanning tasks will be conducted during both daytime and nighttime hours to evaluate differences in utility and accuracy. All panel locations will be geo-referenced to allow horizontal grid coordinates and elevations to be obtained from the data.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact Dr. Connie Stone, Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix Field Office, 21605 North 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85027; email: Connie_Stone@blm.gov; telephone: (623) 580-5661.

 

DOCUMENTATION OF PUEBLO la PLATA

Project Description and Objectives: Partnership efforts during 2004 and 2005 have produced a detailed documentation of Pueblo la Plata, one of the largest sites in the Agua Fria National Monument. Pueblo la Plata is a relatively accessible site that the BLM has identified for future interpretive development as a heritage tourism destination. Detailed mapping and scientific studies are preserving important data and providing a foundation for developing protection measures and an interpretive plan. The information revealed by these studies will enrich the interpretive media to be designed for public education and enjoyment.

Study Methods: Challenge Cost Share funding has supported low-level aerial photography, survey, mapping, and analysis of artifact collections by the Museum of Northern Arizona, Northern Arizona University, the Center for Desert Archaeology, and Arizona State University. The studies have yielded interesting information about the site’s relationship to the natural environment, its architectural history, trade relations with distant regions, and farming practices used to cultivate agave and other crops. These studies have provided information useful for site management and interpretation. They have also advanced current scientific studies and have provided opportunities for university students to participate in research projects.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact Dr. Connie Stone, Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix Field Office, 21605 North 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85027; email: Connie_Stone@blm.gov; telephone: (623) 580-5661.

arieal view of Pueblo la Plata

 

SEARS POINT ROCK ART RECORDATION

Project Description and Objectives:The BLM in Yuma has developed a partnership with Arizona Western College (AWC) to record at-risk rock art sites administered by the Yuma Field Office.

Study Methods: Students from the AWC Geoscience and Anthropology departments are surveying and cataloging the petroglyphs at Sears Point. The project includes the use of GPS and digital photography for petroglyph documentation. The rock art catalog resulting from this project may well be the single most important tool for guarding against alterations or vandalism at Sears Point. Fieldwork for this project began in 2005 and will continue in 2006.

Want to Learn More? For more information, contact Sandra Arnold at (928) 317-3239 or by email at Sandra_Arnold@blm.gov.

students record rock art at Sears Point

 

MT TRUMBULL FIELD SCHOOL

Project Description and Objectives:Nevada State College and Desert Research Institute conducted another season of its undergraduate archaeological field school in the Mt. Trumbull area, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in 2005.

Study Methods:The primary activities included: (1) detailed mapping and systematic surface collection at a small ancestral Puebloan site in the “Bird Plot” area near Nampaweap; (2) limited subsurface testing at five other previously recorded archaeological sites; (3) preliminary cataloging and analyses of artifacts collected during the 2004 and 2005 field season; and (4) preparation of a report of the activities of the 2004 field season. The field project during 2005 involved 15 undergraduate students from all over the United States, with Dr. Paul E. Buck serving as instructor and Principal Investigator. The project lasted a total of six weeks with three weeks of field work contributing to a four-credit Anthropology 400 class through Nevada State College.

Want to Learn More? For more information, contact John Herron at (435) 688-3263 or by email at John_Herron@blm.gov.

Field School Students on Mt. Trumbull

 

HUALAPAI WAR BATTLEFIELDS PROJECT

Project Description and Objectives:The Hualapai Indian War took place in Mohave County, Arizona, from 1866 to 1869. It involved the Hualapai, Mojave, and Yavapai Tribes as well as the U.S. Cavalry, miners, ranchers, and teamsters. Although the Hualapai War took place at the same time as the wars against the Apache and Plains Indians, it never gained the national attention of the other Indian wars. As a result, we know little of the war and none of its battlefields have been identified.

The Hualapai Indian War Battlefields Project is using historic military records to identify the battlefields that are located on BLM land. The goal of the multi-year project is to record the battlefield sites, determine which are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and prescribe the proper management policy for the sites. This project is enlisting the help of the Hualapai Tribe, local historians, and BLM volunteers.

Study Methods: Data has been obtained from Washington, D.C. archives on the initial reasons for the Hualapai War, as stated by the War Department. Copies have been obtained of all the Commanding Officers’ correspondence of military activity in Mohave County, relating to the individual battles that occurred. Actual locations of the battles have been determined, 85% of the actual battle sites have been visited, and photographs and GPS readings have been obtained. A volunteer is now in the process, with the assistance of a member of the Hualapai Nation, of locating those battles that occurred on the present Hualapai Reservation. Several more sites have been located and are scheduled to be photographed and recorded in the months of May and June 2006. The target date for completion of the script, with photographs, maps, historical data, and technical data is September 1, 2006.

Want to Learn More? For more information, contact Gary Stumpf by email at Gary_Stumpf@blm.gov.

 

UPPER BURRO CREEK RESEARCH PROJECT

Project Description and Objectives: Each summer since June 2003, the BLM’s Kingman Field Office has been working with Pima Community College’s Center for Archaeological Field Training to conduct archaeological surveys on public land in the upper Burro Creek watershed.  The project inaugurated the Center’s first summer field school.  Because of the project’s remote location, the crews camp on-site for the duration of each field season.  Over the past three years, the field school has surveyed 1,634 acres and recorded 49 prehistoric sites.  We hope to continue working on this project through 2007.

The project area lies along on the border between the Prescott and Cerbat cultures, two Patayan groups that occupied parts of northern Arizona between A.D. 700 and 1800.  Little is known about either of these cultures and their relationship to each other.  The sites in the area include hilltop fortifications, small village sites, temporary camps, and obsidian quarries.  Occupation in the area dates back to the late Archaic period. 

Study Methods: The purpose of the study is to: (1) inventory sites on public land so they can be managed more effectively, (2) reconstruct the area’s settlement history, (3) learn more about the relationship between the Cerbat and Prescott cultures, and (4) provide students with a high quality field school experience while teaching them about BLM cultural resource management practices. 

Want to Learn More? Pima College’s website contains more information about the project: http://wc.pima.edu/~archaeology/Burro.htm

View from a Prescott Culture hilltop fortification

 


 

California:

PUNTA GORDA ROCK SHELTER

Project Description and Objectives:The Punta Gorda Rock Shelter is a unique heritage resource within the Bureau of Land Management and is one of two known well preserved rock shelters in coastal northern California.  The rock shelter was tested in July 2005 by the University of California at Davis and found to contain a well stratified deposit with 37 distinct stratigraphic units and well preserved faunal remains. The deposit, as it exists, is well over two meters deep and two meters wide at its widest point.  The University of California at Davis, Humboldt State University and the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria in cooperation with the Arcata Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management and the California State Historic Preservation Office are continuing excavations at this site in an effort to better understand the deposit and mitigate the effects of severe erosion.

This project will add significant data in the assessment of prehistoric coastal land use in the region.  Researchers have often viewed pre-Columbian North America as a ‘pristine’ environment and restoration projects have sought to return ecosystems to the state observed by early European explorers.  The information gathered from this site will serve to better understand the time depth of human occupation of the region and to address aboriginal exploitation patterns with the goal of reconstructing human impacts on coastal environments throughout human occupation of the coast.  This information will contribute to paleo-biogeographic profiles of the northwest coast and inform modern conservation practices for species affected by human predation.

Want to Learn More? For more information contact Nick Angeloff, BLM-Arcata,
nangelof@ca.blm.gov

BLM archaeologist Nick Angeloff checks screens and identifies artifacts for the students.

While the scenery is some of the best in the world, the logistics of excavating in such a remote area can be daunting

 


 


Colorado:

THE VILLAGE PROJECT, SOUTHWEST COLORADO

Project Description and Objectives: The Village Project will help archaeologists understand changing land-use strategies in small-scale farming societies experiencing significant climate change and population growth, as well as factors influencing settlement patterns of small-scale agrarian peoples. It also contributes to understanding the evolution of economic systems and population aggregation in such societies. The study will clarify the relationships among climate, culture, and behavior—f actors that resulted in village formation and depopulation in one of the most famous archaeological areas in the world: the Mesa Verde region. This project uses computer simulation to investigate where Ancestral Pueblo people would have situated their households based on both the natural and social environments in which they lived. It examines the long-term interaction between humans and their environment in southwestern Colorado between A.D. 600 and A.D. 1300. The study area is about 1,800 sq km located in heart of the central Mesa Verde archaeological region, including Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The Village Project is funded by the Biocomplexity Division of the National Science Foundation and involves multi-disciplinary scientists and educators from all over the United States.

Study Methods: The project began with detailed modeling of the natural environment. This included reconstruction of precipitation; temperature; soils; agricultural productivity; wood resources; animal resources; and hydrology in the study area. Next, the project built a database of all known archaeological sites (over 9,000) in the study area. This database was used to determine which sites were Ancestral Puebloan residential sites. The residential sites were then analyzed to determine when each site was occupied and how many people lived at each site. The Anasazi Heritage Center and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument provided access to site forms and collections from the study area and facilitated access for field documentation of resources.
These data are being incorporated into a computer simulation. In the computer simulation, virtual Pueblo Indian farm families move into an area and search for a place where they can successfully live. They have to find a place where the soils are suitable for agriculture and where water is available within a reasonable distance. They interact with the environment, depleting soils and fuel wood resources and utilizing available water. Available resources change each year as a result of resource depletion and natural climatic variation, and families have to adapt to these changes. In this way, virtual farm families interact with the environment and with one another over a period of 700 years. After each run of the simulation, the locations of virtual sites will be compared to the locations of known sites. A better understanding of ancient behavior and the effects of long-term interaction between humans and their environment will be obtained by creating the best fit between the simulation and the known sites.

Want to Learn More? Visit the project website at http://www.wsu.edu/~village/ to access a more detailed and broad overview of the project, its history, the people involved, information on similar research, and links to further information.

Ancestral Puebloan site

 

THE COLORADO WICKIUP PROJECT

Project Description and Objectives: Wickiups were once commonplace in Colorado, particularly throughout the western slope. Most of these wooden structures were associated with Ute culture, and are widely thought to be the only surviving aboriginal architecture of Colorado’s living indigenous people.  Recognized for their cultural and historic value, many are considered eligible for the National and State Register of Historic Places.  Unfortunately, these perishable structures are rapidly disappearing from the landscape due to the effects of natural weathering, wildfires and human impact.  They face certain decay, disintegration and disappearance before documentation can occur.  In 2003, Native American wickiup structures were listed on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places List by Colorado Preservation, Inc. (CPI).

The Wickiup Project began in 2004 in partnership with the Dominquez Archaeological Research Group, the Colorado Historical Society, and CPI.  It is a comprehensive documentation and information sharing project for all known Protohistoric/Historic aboriginal wooden structures in the State of Colorado.  The goals of the study are (1) to compile existing literature about wickiups and other aboriginal wooden structures; (2) to identify data gaps for future research before they disappear; (3) identify the best methods to document and preserve the archaeological information and cultural value; and (4) maximize the research, preservation and educational value of the information and knowledge.  

The Wickiup Project is being funded by the Bureau of Land Management, DARG and the Colorado State Historic fund and involves a project team with technical advisors form the Colorado professional archaeological community, the Southern Ute tribe, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Northern Ute Tribe, and the Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Study Methods:
The first phase focused on archaeological context, data assessment, strategic planning, and development of model documentation practices. The archaeological context compiled known information from the Protohistoric and Ute periods in Colorado and created an extensive annotated bibliography of notable wickiup studies.  The number of sites identified totaled 278 containing 635 wooden structures. 

The second phase will focus on the following urgent needs; a) accelerated field reconnaissance and documentation projects; b) using standard recording methods; c) continued collaboration and Information sharing with the Ute tribes, federal and state agencies; d) immediately updating the Statewide database and developing a searchable Web-based database for professionals; and e) providing the public with appropriate information about these “at-risk” resources.

Want to Learn More? Visit the project website at http://www.dargnet.org/colowick/ to access a more detailed and broad overview of the project, its history, the people involved, information on similar research, and links to further information.

Lean-to style wickiup, on juniper tree support: western Colorado


 

 

 

Eastern States Office: ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVALUATION AND HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE 18TH-CENTURY CHILES HOMESITE IN CHARLES COUNTY, MARYLAND

Project Description and Objectives: BLM-Eastern States (ES), in partnership with the College of William and Mary, Center for Archaeological Research, will perform archaeological inventories, excavation, and historical documentation of the 18th -century Chiles homesite, located on the BLM’s Douglas Point tract in Charles County, Maryland. This project will include the formal recordation of standing and archaeological features, as well as professional test excavations across the site. This research will provide land managers with a better understanding of early Euro-American settlement and domestic lifeways along the Potomac River. The goals of this project are to complete a nomination for listing of the site on the National Register of Historic Places and to develop a master site interpretive plan to use for designing a historical-interpretive trail showcasing the unique history of this site. The Chiles Interpretive Trail is scheduled for construction in FY 2006 and volunteer contributions will be appreciated.

As part of the archaeological evaluation, BLM-ES will engage the local public, school groups, and historical societies to participate in the project. Public tours, hands-on opportunities, and documentation of historical information (i.e., informant interviews) will also be a part of the weeklong field effort at the site, which is scheduled for Spring 2005.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this or other Eastern States Cultural Heritage projects, contact Troy Ferone, Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States Office, 626 E. Wisconsin Ave. #200, Milwaukee, WI 53202; email: Troy_Ferone@blm.gov; telephone: (414) 297-4437 .

remains of the Chiles Homesite



 

 

 

Idaho:

LOWER SALMON RIVER GEOARCHAEOLOGY STUDY

Project Description and Objectives: Since 1996, through the University of Alberta and now through Oregon State University, Dr. Loren Davis and the Cottonwood Field Office of BLM-Idaho have cooperated in a multi-year partnership to better understand human adaptations to changing environmental conditions during the Paleoarchaic-Archaic transition in west-central Idaho. This period of time in west-central Idaho—from approximately 8,500 to 8,000 years ago—is critical for understanding early human adaptations to riverine systems. The study’s objectives are to document and explain changes in lithic technology, subsistence patterns, and logistical organization of hunter-gatherers during a time marked by extreme summer temperatures, heightened aridity, and marked climatic instability, accompanied by changes in plant communities in riparian zones in the canyon.

The national and regional importance of the canyon’s archaeological resources is established by their inclusion in the Lower Salmon River National Register of Historic Places Archaeological District. Another objective of the research is to provide data to aid BLM in better understanding the significance of archaeological and related resources in the canyon, so these can be effectively managed and protected.

Through field schools, students working under the direction of Dr. Davis and BLM archaeologist David Sisson have participated in field and laboratory work. Partner contributions have provided BLM and the public with substantial cost savings in completing this work.

Study Methods: The study, which has focused on archaeological and geoarchaeological sites within the Lower Salmon River Canyon, employs multiple lines of evidence to investigate climatic and environmental change and human adaptations over a considerable period of time. Geological mapping of landforms and surficial deposits and excavation and analysis of subsurface soils at selected geoarchaeological sites are being used to better understand soil deposition and erosion. Analysis of oxygen-18 levels in shell organisms at excavated archaeological sites is being used to identify past precipitation rates, and changes in plant communities are being investigated through changing levels of soil carbonates. Human adaptations to changing environmental conditions are being investigated using data from previous archaeological excavations and from newly excavated sites in the canyon.

From this work, we now know that early human groups began using the Lower Salmon River more than 11,000 years ago. This research has also led to a rethinking about the nature of the first human settlements of the Columbia Plateau and Northern Great Basin at the end of the Ice Age. A precipitation and temperature record has now been established for a several-thousand-year time frame, and a predictive model of site location has been developed using archaeological and geoarchaeological data. Work continues in 2005 with additional participation by the Nez Perce National Forest.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact David Sisson, Bureau of Land Management, Cottonwood Field Office, Route 3, Box 181, Cottonwood, ID 83522-9498; email: Dave_Sisson@blm.gov ; telephone: (208) 962-3782.


Excavating Shells

Photo 1a: McCulley Creek Archaeological Site excavation of shells.
Caption: Archaeologists excavating a small feature containing shells from terrestrial shell organisms. Analysis of oxygen-18 levels in the shells are aiding scientists in their study of past precipitation levels and associated environmental changes in the Lower Salmon River Canyon of west-central Idaho.

 

SHOSHONE FIELD OFFICE-UNIVERSITY OF OREGON PARTNERSHIP

Project Description and Objectives: In 2003-2005, the Shoshone Field Office of BLM-Idaho, the National Park Service and the University of Oregon, Eugene, entered into an agreement to complete a Cultural Resources Overview for the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  Created by Presidential Proclamation in 2000, Craters of the Moon National Monument is co-managed by the BLM and the Park Service and is part of the Bureau’s National Landscape Conservation System.  The Monument consists of 750,000 acres of which almost 500,000 are covered by late Pleistocene and Holocene basalt flows.  The remaining acres are primarily contained within “kipukas”, a Hawaiian term that refers to an island of land surround by lava on all sides.  Idaho archaeologists know this area was visited by prehistoric people, but until now, there had been no systematic study of the entire area.
Dr. L. Suzann Henrikson of the University of Oregon completed her doctoral dissertation on the prehistoric use of ice caves in southern Idaho and was the natural choice to expand that work into an Overview for the Monument. The task included creating a GIS overlay depicting archaeological sites and surveys for the entire Monument, providing the NPS and BLM with a valuable management tool.
Under the direction of Dr. Henrikson and graduate students Kaylon McAlister and Montana Long, approximately 36 archaeology students from all over the United States participated in field and laboratory work in 2004 and 2005. As a result, over 4,500 acres of land were inventoried for cultural resources, over 100 new sites documented and five sites were tested for subsurface deposits.  Contributions from the NPS and the University of Oregon have provided BLM and the public with substantial cost savings in completing this work and greatly expanded our knowledge of this intriguing region.

Study Methods: In addition to creating a GIS overlay for the Monument, Dr. Henrikson created a predictive model of site distribution and location.  In this region where most water sources are ephemeral, she found no strong correlation between water and archaeological sites.  However, the density of sites increases sharply near the edges of Holocene lava flows. It appears that although these flows may have been barriers during and immediately following volcanic eruptions, they eventually became highly productive areas surrounded by less productive sagebrush steppe.  While many previous researchers have assumed that this rugged, unforgiving country was too daunting for prehistoric peoples, the recent study clearly demonstrates that they were drawn to these areas. Future work will continue to expand on these discoveries and seek to incorporate Shoshone-Bannock oral history.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact Lisa T. Cresswell, Bureau of Land Management, Shoshone Field Office, 400 West F St., Shoshone, ID 83352; email: Lisa_Cresswell@blm.gov  telephone: (208) 732-7270.

 


 

 


Montana:

WEATHERMAN DRAW

Project Description and Objectives: The Weatherman Draw Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) has received considerable attention in the past few years, and the current project was designed to address many of the concerns expressed about the area. In 2004, the Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) was invited to comment about the proposed oil and gas withdrawal for the area, and the RAC and the BLM Montana State Office accepted a final disposition proposal. In part, the proposal calls for a complete Class III inventory of the Weatherman Draw ACEC and its proposed expansion; testing of threatened sites and the collection of baseline cultural/historical data; archival recording of the rock art in the area; and nomination of the area to the National Register of Historic Places as a National Register District.

Study Methods: The current portion of the project involves a cooperative agreement with Western Wyoming College to inventory at least 10 percent of the proposed district each year and to test and recover data from threatened sites. The 2004 project inventoried 766 acres in the southern portion of the area, identified and recorded 16 new properties (including rock art and occupation sites), and tested a newly discovered rock shelter site on the eastern side of the ridge. At various times in August, seven archaeology students, four instructors, and six local volunteers performed Class III inventory, site recording, and excavation.

The excavated site was a rock shelter located east of Cottonwood Peak, near the Valley of Shields. Surficial examination showed at least two occupation areas, both of which had been vandalized. The northern portion of the shelter had a low stone wall with log supports erected, possibly as a windbreak. A looters’ pit was situated in the center of the structure. On the south end, the remains of a hearth were exposed by other looting activity, so the decision was made to test the disturbed areas to determine if any intact cultural deposits remained. Within the structure, tests failed to show any intact subsurface deposits, but in the south unit, an intact dispersed hearth with associated lithic debitage was discovered. Samples recovered from this hearth have been submitted for analysis for pollen, macrofloral remains, and radiocarbon dates. A second occupation level was located some 40 cm below the surface hearth. These deposits remained intact and were not tested or otherwise disturbed.

In addition to the test excavation, inventory, and site recording, five previously recorded sites in the inventory area were relocated and site forms were updated.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact Glade Hadden, Bureau of Land Management, Montana State Office, 5001 Southgate Dr., Billings, Montana 59101; email: Glade_Hadden@blm.gov; telephone: (406) 896-5234

Pictographs from Weatherman Draw

 

WESTERN MONTANA ETHNOHISTORY PROJECT

Project Description and Objectives: Since the beginning of tribal history, the upper tributaries of the Missouri River in western Montana have been a place of special importance to the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai people.  The watersheds of the Madison, Jefferson, Bighole and Beaverhead Rivers were a central homeland area and part of the traditional seasonal round practiced by the tribes for millennia.  The profound age of the tribes’ inhabitance of the Northern Rockies is suggested by the earliest tribal legends that chronicle the presence of glacial lakes and the retreat of the glaciers and the establishment of a more temperate seasonal regime.   Historical records, from as early as Lewis and Clark and on throughout the fur trade era, document the tribe’s continual presence in southwestern Montana.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Preservation Department (SKTPD) have proposed an ethnographic study of  western Montana. The goal of the study is to initiate a process to identify, document and map places of special significance to the tribes for future management consideration under federal cultural resource protection laws by the Bureau of Land Management.  The methods employed would be a combination of historical research, oral history studies, language studies, Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and Ethnobotanical investigations.   This study is designed to provide a foundation for the development of more comprehensive ethnographic investigations in the future.  A more detailed discussion of the proposed study components and methodology follows.

Study Methods: Oral History Study.  A selected group of Salish/Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai Elders will be interviewed over a period of several months for information concerning traditional uses and historical events in the project area.  Meetings with Culture Committee staff and the Elders Committee will identify knowledgeable Elders.  Those identified will be interviewed individually to provide information about the study area.  Interviews will be audio taped and in some instances video taped with the interviewees permission.   Sites identified during oral history interviews will be documented on approved site forms and mapped.  Selected oral history tapes from the Kootenai and Salish/Pend d’Oreille Culture Committees will be reviewed to assess the information sources concerning cultural use and place names in the study area.  The Culture Committees have preserved hundreds of hours of taped oral interviews with elders and knowledgeable cultural experts, and many of these tapes have been transcribed from the Salish and Kootenai languages into English. 

Place Names Study. Research of the Salish and Kootenai language Place Names for the study area will be undertaken. Place Names information will be obtained using oral histories, Elder interviews, linguistic, and historical sources.  Place Names often have stories attached that reveal information about natural resources, historical use and important events pertinent to the area.  Place names identified will be summarized and mapped using GIS.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact Gary Smith, Bureau of Land Management, Gary_Smith@mt.blm.gov

Archaeological Site visit with Tribal Elders

Archaeological Site visit with Tribal Elders


 

 


Nevada:

TESTING AND DATA RECOVERY AT BOYD RESERVOIR BISON SITE

Project Description and Objectives: BLM will initiate a three-year testing and data recovery project at a 620(± 40)-year-old bison-butchering/-kill site that is being destroyed by stream erosion. If action is not taken, the bone layer may disappear within the next ten years. The site dates to close to the time of the hypothesized Numic Spread and may be able to provide insight as to the possible replacement of earlier peoples by Shoshonean speakers, a major research issue in Great Basin archaeology.

Study Methods: The site is one of only a small number in northeastern Nevada with bison remains and apparently is, to date, the only documented site where butchering occurred. Adverse influences on the site include fluctuating water levels, lateral cutbank erosion, and runoff from a reservoir, 0.25 mile upstream. A dam on the private land downstream of the site compounds the problem by backing water up the creek, which causes wicking upward toward the cultural deposits. The site has two components: a line of bison bone exposed in the Rabbit Creek cutbank and an overlying surface lithic scatter. The bone layer is approximately 15 m long, and ranges from 40-100 cm below the surface in alluvium. Testing reveals that that a strip of bone-bearing strata approximately 2-4 m wide remains along the creek. Smashed bison bones (some with cut marks) were the most common artifacts recovered. Flakes, charcoal, and exotic rocks were found mixed with the bones. Two bison are represented. The surface component is a scatter of lithics with two concentrations: a light surface scatter with abundant material eroding from a secondary wash 30 m away (Eastgate Point in association); and a second artifact concentration, a cluster of lithics containing a rock concentration within 10 m of the bone layer and within a few meters of where the pottery and choppers were observed. Testing in 2004 demonstrated the following: intact parts of the bone layer remain; the bones are bison and are culturally affiliated; and all bones below the surface are part of the same component. In 2006, additional testing will be done to determine if either of the surface artifact concentrations is contemporaneous with the bone layer, and to aid in the development of a data recovery plan. Test excavation will be done under contract, possibly in conjunction with the use of volunteers from the local archaeological association.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact Tim Murphy, Bureau of Land Management, Elko Field Office, 3900 E. Idaho Street, Elko, NV 89801; email: Tim_Murphy@blm.gov; telephone: (775) 753-0275

excavation of bison bones at Boyd Reservoir

 

BONNEVILLE ESTATES ROCKSHELTER

Project Description and Objectives:  The BLM Elko Field Office will continue a cooperative effort at one of the most important prehistoric sites known in the Great Basin – Bonneville Estates Rockshelter.  This shelter contains one of the longest continuous records of prehistoric behavior known from the Great Basin – and in fact, from North America in general.  The shelter was intermittently occupied beginning at least 13,000 calendar years ago, continuing until historic contact. Goals include investigation into the early peopling of the Great Basin, as well as to conduct an archaeological field school to teach anthropology students principles of archaeological stratigraphy and excavation. 

Study Methods: The BLM Elko Field Office has worked cooperatively with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) since 1999 to conduct an archaeological field school in one of the most important prehistoric sites known in the Great Basin – Bonneville Estates Rockshelter.  This shelter contains one of the longest continuous records of prehistoric behavior known from the Great Basin – and in fact, from North America in general.  The shelter was intermittently occupied beginning at least 13,000 calendar years ago, continuing until historic contact.  The entire Great Basin archaeological sequence is preserved within the shelter, including tools and subsistence items utilized by the ancient foragers.  This sequence includes (1) Clovis-aged hearths; (2) latest Pleistocene/Early Holocene occupations spanning 10,500 – 9,400 BP; (3) adaptations to Middle Holocene aridity at 7,400, 6,200, and 5,300 BP; and (4) a nearly continuous sequence of  occupations throughout the Late Holocene, between 4,500 and 150 BP.  One of the more interesting findings to date includes the diversity of animal resources consumed 10,000+ years ago, including pronghorn, mountain sheep, deer, jackrabbits, sage grouse, and grasshoppers.   Unfortunately, the shelter is also known to a number of illegal artifact collectors who have looted portions of the site in the past.  The BLM began a program to facilitate the collection of scientific information from the site through detailed archaeological excavation before its contents were destroyed further.  One of the goals of the Department of Anthropology at UNR is to investigate the early peopling of the Great Basin, as well as to conduct an archaeological field school during the summer months to teach anthropology students principles of archaeological stratigraphy and excavation.  Bonneville Estates Rockshelter fits this bill rather nicely; as a result, continued cooperation between UNR, DRI and BLM, as well as with Texas A & M University beginning in the summer of 2007, will ensure that learning and site protection measures continue into the future at Bonneville Estates.

Want to Learn More? For further information: Bryan Hockett, BLM, Elko Field Office, 3900 East Idaho Street, Elko, Nevada, 89801  Bryan_Hockett@nv.blm.gov

excavation at the Bonneville Estates Rockshelter

excavation at the Bonneville Estates Rockshelter


 

 

New Mexico:

MESA PORTALES ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROJECT

Project Description and Objectives: The BLM Rio Puerco Field Office is sponsoring a research project focused on Mesa Portales, near Cuba in northwest New Mexico. This project began as part of a cultural resources volunteer patrol program led by BLM archeologist Tony Lutonsky. Struck by the site density and prevalence of burned sites on the mesa, the group shifted its focus to site recording. Now retired and a BLM volunteer, Lutonsky and his group have recorded more than 300 sites in an area of about 6 square miles on Mesa Portales, most dating to the Anasazi Pueblo III time period. Beginning in 2002, Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), supported in part by the Albuquerque District, has conducted research on Mesa Portales through its annual field school. The first season was spent instrument mapping and recording 20 of the previously recorded sites in greater detail, including limited systematic surface collections. The 2003 season was devoted to excavation of two small sites chosen because of their potential to contribute to understanding of the dynamics of the relatively short-term occupation, including the extensive burning that took place on Mesa Portales. The 2004 season was spent processing and analyzing materials from the previous summers. The 2005 field school will return to excavations, completing them at the two small sites, and will also salvage information from LA 4568, a large masonry pueblo located on a defensible projection of Mesa Portales. The site is easily accessible and thus has been a focus for looters. There are numerous potholes at the site and a number of wall segments are still exposed. Following excavations, the site will be backfilled and signed.

Study Methods: In addition to the excavation report that will result from the ENMU field school and the report that will be generated from the BLM volunteer survey project, three master’s theses are underway at ENMU, with several more expected. Also, a BLM student employee is completing a PhD dissertation at the University of New Mexico, focusing on the burning at the sites on Mesa Portales.

The Pueblo III period is a period of regional abandonments and major migrations. By the end of this period, large portions of the Mesa Verde region in southwestern Colorado and large portions of the central San Juan Basin in northwestern New Mexico had been abandoned and never reoccupied by the Prehistoric Puebloans or their descendants. The Mesa Portales Project has been studying sites that were occupied during this migration period. Based on research to date, researchers must look to other areas for the source of the dramatic increase in population on Mesa Portales. Accurate dating of the sites is critical. Construction wood is being dated through dendrochronology. Other samples are being dated through radiocarbon, archaeomagnetic, and thermoluminescence techniques. Detailed ceramic analysis, including analysis of paste and temper, will also contribute to dating of the occupation, as well as to knowledge of the cultural affiliation of the inhabitants. Other studies to be completed are architectural, macrobotanical, pollen, faunal, geoarchaeological, and lithic analyses. The UNM dissertation on the burning of sites will include analysis of the point-provenienced burned adobe and additional geoarchaeological studies. Many other techniques being used for this study have been adapted from fire science and arson investigation methods.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact Gretchen Obenauf, Bureau of Land Management, Rio Puerco Field Office, 435 Montaño Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107; email: Gretchen_Obenauf@blm.gov; telephone: (505) 761-8773

excavation of a Pueblo III archaeological site on Mesa Portales

 

AMARILLO FIELD SCHOOL 2004-2005

Project Description and Objectives: During June of 2004 and 2005 the Center for Archeological Studies at Texas State University-San Marcos in Cooperation with the BLM Amarillo Field Office; held Archeological Field Schools on the Cross Bar Ranch about 15 miles northwest of  Amarillo, Texas.  The site excavated was 41PT109, an Antelope Creek period house, occupied between A.D. 1200-A.D. 1500 built with stone slab foundations on a high ridge overlooking the Canadian river with near vertical drops on both sides of the ridge.

Study Methods: About 12 students and staff were led by Dr. Britt Bousman and spent all of June excavating meter squares on the site and doing archeological surveys along the bluff top south and west of the house site.  Material recovered included a wide variety of animal bones:  Bison, deer, turtle, birds, mouse, rabbit, fish, snakes, prairie dog, gopher, frogs, squirrels, coyote, skunk, fresh water mussel, and even badger.  Plant species recovered included Cottonwood, Oak, Mesquite, Juniper, and Maize.  Pottery sherds found were cord marked or smoothed over cord marked and probably jar shaped in colors ranging from black, to gray, to reddish brown.  The pottery resembles the type Borger Cordmarked with some exceptions.  Stone tools recovered were Washita arrow points, preforms, bifacial knives, diamond beveled knives, scrapers and one worn out metate.  All of the flaked tools were made of Alibates Agatized Dolomite with a variety of colors.  Features found in the house included room floors of mud and gravel, vertical dolomite slabs marking the walls, a cooking pit, and a trash midden outside the house.  Results are still being analyzed from the 2005 season which recovered a much larger sample of artifacts.

 

THREE RIVERS FIELD SCHOOL

Project description and Objectives:Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is internationally known and visited by individuals from all over the world. To mitigate the effects to the petroglyph site and its related El Paso Phase Jornada Mogollon habitation site from increased visitation, the grading of the shoulders on an east-west county road that bisects the sites, and the continued blading of an east-west ranch road through the southern portion of the site, data recovery has been initiated.

Study Methods:Virtually no professional subsurface investigations of large El Paso Phase village sites along the margins of the Tularosa Basin have taken place since Lehmer's pioneering work in the 1940's. The academically based data recovery program at Three Rivers will make a significant contribution to the current knowledge about the village adaptation of the prehistoric Jornada Mogollon.

Want to Learn More? For more information contact Pam Smith by email at: Pam_Smith@nm.blm.gov

Three Rivers Field School

Three Rivers Field School

Three Rivers Field School

 

DINETAH PLACE NAME AND SACRED SITES ETHNOGRAPHIC INVESTIGATION PROJECT

Project description and Objectives: The Dinétah Place Name and Sacred Sites Ethnographic Investigation Project was initiated in 2004 for the express purpose of identifying and evaluating places in the Farmington Field Office that have sacred, historical, and widely held cultural meaning to the Navajo Tribe and/or its members.  This project was developed in partnership with the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department who helped craft the scope of work, helped evaluate prospective contractors, and reviewed the reports and records generated by the project.  The project was initiated in part as a response to ongoing energy developments on Public and Navajo lands and the need to more accurately identify the potential for this development to affect places of importance.  Work was confined to three Navajo community areas and the drainages of Gobernador and Largo Canyon in northwest New Mexico and included Public and Navajo lands.

Study Methods: Using a team comprised of experienced and skilled tribal members with ethnographic research training and academic credentials, as well as a non-tribal ethnographer, the identification efforts included archival record research and field investigations using interviews in the Dine language and site visits with knowledgeable tribal members.  As a result, over 500 places of importance were identified, many for the very first time, and all of these were entered into a data base and GIS system.  The places documented included well known sacred geographic landmarks, medicinal and mineral gathering areas, battle sites, antelope hunting traps, burials, offering areas, and places associated with local contemporary history as well as with traditional origin history.  This information will be used by the BLM and the Navajo Nation to screen potentially land altering project for potential conflicts with places of historical and cultural importance.

Want to Learn More? For more information contact Jim Copeland by email at: Jim_Copeland@nm.blm.gov

landform near Farmington, New Mexico

 


 

 

 

Oregon/Washington: CULTURAL AND ECOLOGICAL STUDIES AT WATMOUGH BAY

Project description and Objectives: Technical analysis of ecological data samples collected during the Watmough Bay Archaeological Site Stabilization Project will be conducted. In collaboration with BLM, the Burke Museum at the University of Washington and the Samish Indian Nation’s Center for the Study of Coast Salish Environments (CSCSE) conducted archaeological data recovery and site stabilization measures at archaeological site (45SJ280), located on Lopez Island, in August 2004. Archaeological and ecological data were recovered for analysis. The data will be analyzed and presented in a report of investigation.

Objectives of the analytical work are to: (1) identify plant species used as fuel or otherwise represented by charred remains and, if possible, phytoliths, including seagrasses; (2) from any surviving pollen remains, trace changes over time in plant communities surrounding the site; (3) identify salmon remains by species and, to the extent possible using existing reference data, identify their streams of origin using DNA extracted from any surviving intact bone collagen; and (4) use stable isotope ratios of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen in shell and/or bone specimens from food items represented in the collection to compare changing biophysical conditions at the site, such as temperature and salinity, with indicators of ecosystem health, such as trophic complexity, growth rate, and physiological stress. Shells recovered from the excavation will be used in taxonomic and size analysis. A sub-sample of the shell (approximately 5 shells per layer) will be used for cross-section and stable-isotope analysis. The analysis should yield data that could enrich understanding of seasonality of use at the site.

Study Methods: Specimens of charred but identifiable woody material were recovered from the site. Half of each bulk sample will be dried, sifted, and floated for additional macrobotanical specimens. The remainder will be processed for pollen recovery. Time permitting, inorganic residues will be examined for phytoliths, or else preserved for future study.

Extraction of DNA from salmonid vertebrae will be attempted. If DNA has survived, up to five salmon vertebrae will be processed from each level. At least two shellfish taxa will be identified for a stable-isotope study of climate versus inferred human forcing of local ecological change. Avian remains may also be included in the analysis. Stable isotope ratios for carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen in a sub-sample of the target taxa will be measured from each level. Results from each level will averaged and mean ratios in light of regional climate trends inferred from other sources will be interpreted.

Want to Learn More? For more information about this research project, contact Richard Bailey, Bureau of Land Management, Spokane District Office, 1103 North Fancher Road, Spokane Valley, WA 99212; email: Richard_Bailey@or.blm.gov; telephone: (509) 536-1217

Dr. Stein (red cap) Director of the Burke Museum (University of Washington), speaking to visitors regarding the stabilization project.

staff and students from the Burke Museum, UW and from the Samish Nation's research center,  Center for the Study of Coast Salish Environments.


 

 


Utah:

COMB RIDGE RESEARCH PROJECT

Project Description and Objectives: Comb Ridge and the washes to its east and west have provided a unique setting for thousands of years of human history. Some of the earliest archaeological discoveries in the American Southwest took place in the 1890’s, along Butler Wash, on the east side of Comb Ridge. Not long afterwards, Comb Wash, on the west side of the Ridge, was visited by T. Mitchell Preudden and other archaeologists. The project area has not received the scholarly attention of other areas in the Southwest, but the archaeological projects that have taken place here reveal an information potential that rivals the possibilities anywhere else in the Southwest. Human occupation in the immediate Comb Ridge vicinity has been documented to over 8,000 years ago, and corn agriculture has been documented to over 3,300 years ago along Butler Wash. Ongoing studies on both sides of the Ridge are uncovering the very real potential for connections to faraway Chaco Canyon.

The Comb Ridge Project has multiple objectives at its core. In addition to making contributions to archaeological knowledge and artifact preservation, it will be oriented to involve Native Americans, public education, and public participation. These community involvement objectives will enhance public interest in the project.

Study Methods: Field work components will be: survey of unrecorded historic and prehistoric archaeological sites; completed documentation of known historic and prehistoric archaeological sites; assessment of the preservation needs of historic and prehistoric sites; and assessment of the management needs of the historic and prehistoric sites in Comb Wash and the surrounding landscape.

The most effective times for conducting field work along Comb Ridge are in the spring and fall. Because of demands on Sand Island Campground and the number of visitors along Comb Ridge in the spring, it might be best to schedule field work for the fall. The following is a preliminary estimate of timing for the project:

• Fall 2005 Website comes online, action on communications plan
elements begins
• Spring 2006 Letter from Utah Governor making June 8 “Antiquities Act
Day”
• August, 2006 Pecos Conference symposium
• Fall 2006 Field work conducted
• Winter 2006 Management Recommendations Team gives input
• Spring 2007 Field trips with tourism industry and others
• Spring 2008 Final report completed.

Want to learn more? Contact Jim Carter or Nancy Shearin, Bureau of Land Management, Monticello Field Office, 435 N. Main St., P.O. Box 7, Monticello, UT 84535; email: James_Carter@blm.gov or Nancy_Shearin@blm.gov; telephone: (435) 587-1513 or (435) 587-1529

Archaeological site on Comb Ridge

 

NON-INVASIVE, X-RAY FLORESCENCE DATING OF PETROGLYPHS

Project Description and Objectives: The BLM-St. George Field Office, in partnership with the Utah Geological Survey and the EXAFs Corp., is using the power of x-ray physics (XRF) to develop a non-destructive, reliable method for dating petroglyphs (pecked or incised aboriginal rock art) at sites on public lands in Washington County, Utah.  A portable XRF unit (Niton Xli-shown in the photo below) is being used to characterize the element composition of the desert varnish that has re-grown within the petroglyphs.  The x-rays in no way damage the rock art, as the total energy that shines upon the surface is less than that emitted by a flashlight.  The data collected by the XRF unit are downloaded to a computer, where customized software analyses the “metal signal” of the varnish detected by the x-rays.  

Study Methods: Desert varnish re-growth has the potential to be a time-sensitive indicator for dating petroglyphs.  The elemental metals in the varnish, particularly manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe), reflect the metabolic activity of the varnish-forming bacteria.  The elemental ratios (e.g., Mn/Fe) appear to be closely related to the passage of time; these ratios can easily be measured by portable XRF units under field conditions.   This project has completed several laboratory experiments on known age-dated rock samples, and the relative ages produced by XRF measurements have proven to be quite accurate.  The next phase of this project will be the development of a calibration curve, through cosmogenic isotope analysis of non-art bearing rock samples of similar varnish thickness, C14 dating, and the use of time sensitive artifacts from associated archeological sites. Prime Lab (Purdue University) is currently completing cosmogenic isotopic dating on 15 non-art bearing rock samples collected from the study sites.   The calibration curve will be further refined using other standard geologic age dating methods, such as K-Ar or Ar-Ar techniques on basalt samples and geo-morphology studies.

 

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Figure 1.  Farrel Lytle, XRF material scientist with EXAFs Corp., using Niton XLi XRF unit to measure desert varnish at target rock art site on public lands in Washington County in 2005.
Figure 2.  Relative age developed by XRF measurements for target petroglyph, indicated by scale arrow.

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Figure 3. Plot of relative age dates produced by XRF measurements of target sites on public land in Washington County, Utah.

Professional Papers, Public Presentations, and Publications derived from this research, to date

"Can Desert Varnish be Dated by XRF Analysis?"  by F.W. Lytle
This is a draft document prepared for discussion purposes within the research team.
August 21, 2000

"Determination of the Growth Rate of Desert Varnish: Application to Dating Petroglyphs"
by F. W. Lytle, N. E. Pingitore, N. W. Lytle, D. Ferris-Rowley, and M. C. Reheis.
This is an abstract of a paper presented at a workshop entitled, “Applications of Synchrotron Techniques to Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology”, held at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory Users Meeting on Oct. 18, 2000.

"Potential of the Spectrace 9000 Portable XRF Instrument for Characterizing Desert Varnish"
by F. W. Lytle and N. E. Pingitore. December 30, 2000.
This is a document describing preliminary measurements on three DV samples (made as a demonstration of their instrument by a Spectrace scientist) that illustrate the capability and possibility for field measurements leading to the dating of petroglyphs repatinated with desert varnish.

“The Possibility of Dating Petroglyphs from the Growth Rate of Desert Varnish”
F. W. Lytle, N. E. Pingitore, N. W. Lytle, D. Ferris-Rowley, and M. C. Reheis
Presented at the 2002 meeting of the Nevada Archaeology Association, April 28 in Carson City, NV.   We believe that it is important to acquaint the field with our on-going research and obtain their feedback. April 28, 2002.

"Technical and Annual Performance Report, Performance Period May, 2003 through December, 2003" This report of our FY 03 work incorporated much of the technical material of the above listed items and used that as a basis for dating petroglyphs at the Land Hill site near St. George, UT.

"Preliminary Determination of the Age of Petroglyphs by X-ray Fluorescence Analysis" by Farrel Lytle, Dawna Ferris-Rowley, Peter Rowley, Xiomara Kreschmer, Marcos Delgado and Nicholas Pingitore. Presented at the USGS 7th Biennial Conference Integrating Science and Management on the Colorado Plateau, Flagstaff, AZ, Nov. 3-6, 2003.

" Determination of the Age of Petroglyphs at the Land Hill Site by
X-ray Fluorescence Analysis" by Farrel Lytle, Dawna Ferris-Rowley and Peter Rowley. Presented at the annual meeting of the Nevada Archaeological Association, Winnemucca, NV, April 16-18, 2004.

“Absolute Dating of Desert Varnish Using Portable X-Ray Fluorescence: Calibration and Testing” by Nicholas Pingitore1, Farrel Lytle2, Dawna Ferris-Rowley3 and Peter Rowley4, presented at the 2004 meeting of the American Geophysical Union, San Francisco.

“Dating Petroglyphs With X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis (XRF)” by Farrel Lytle1, Dawna Ferris-Rowley2, Peter Rowley3 and Nicholas Pingitore4, Presented At Great Basin Anthropological Conference, Sparks, Nevada, Oct. 14-17, 2004. Invited paper.

“Determination Of The Age Of Petroglyphs At A Virgin Anasazi Site By X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis” by Farrel Lytle1, Dawna Ferris-Rowley2, Peter Rowley3, Xiomara Kretschmer4, Marcos Delgado4 and Nicholas Pingitore4, presented at 2004 URARA conference, Kanab, UT. Invited paper.

 

 


 

 


Wyoming: CANTONMENT RENO RESEARCH PROJECT

Project Description and Objectives: Cantonment Reno is the site of a late 19th-century (1876-1878) U.S. Military supply depot that helped provision General Crook’s Campaigns against the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Indians. No standing structures exist today at the post, but numerous depressions, mounds, and artifact scatters reveal significant archaeological potential. Of the square-mile reservation that had been set aside for military use, 560 acres are currently managed by BLM, and the remaining 80 acres are administered by the State of Wyoming.

The goals of this initial historical/archaeological study are three-fold: to use previous archaeological and historical research, combined with archival research at the National Archives in Washington D.C., to provide a historical background to guide future archaeological investigations of the post; to produce a detailed feature map of the military reservation using global position system (GPS) data loggers; and, if possible, determine the location of Powder River Crossing, an early settlement and stage station that was founded after the abandonment of Cantonment Reno. The generation of a GPS feature map of Cantonment Reno along with a historical context should provide resource managers with a tool for managing the military post in the future.

Study Methods: As part of a program to protect and interpret Cantonment Reno, the Buffalo Field Office of BLM-Wyoming is conducting site mapping and historical research. The field effort consists of identifying and mapping all features that are visible on the surface. The field investigations consist of using a Trimble® GPS data logger with real-time differential correction. The data collected from this unit will be used to produce a large-scale map of features.

The data is being corrected in the laboratory during post-processing. A data dictionary was developed for the depot based on the National Park Service’s Civil War Batteries data dictionary. The data dictionary developed for Cantonment Reno has separate fields for large depressions/mounds, small depressions/mounds, ditches, fences, and roads.

Post-processing consists of downloading data into Pathfinder Office®. In the office, positions are differentially corrected using base station files from the nearest available base station, which is located in Casper, Wyoming. The data is edited in the office once fieldwork is completed; editing consists of removing irregularities created by the GPS unit in order to more accurately represent the conditions reported in the field.

Prior to fieldwork, background research in government documents, books, and articles, as well as in selected manuscripts and microfilm sources, was conducted at the National Archives and Library of Congress; the Wyoming State Archives; the Johnson County Library in Buffalo, Wyoming; the Sheridan County Library in Sheridan, Wyoming; and the BLM Buffalo Field Office. The background research provided an overview of the history of the depot, and placed it in context to add to the archaeological mapping of the area.

Want to Learn More? Contact Jim Sparks, Bureau of Land Management, Buffalo Field Office, 1425 Fort St., Buffalo, WY 82834-2436; email: James_Sparks@blm.gov; telephone: (307) 684-1096

Plan map of Cantonment Reno’s second stage of construction.