Excavations at Quail Creek

This document reports the results of the excavation of 18 sites and the testing of 31 sites within the project area of the Quail Creek Reservoir in central Washington County, Utah. The greatest number of sites are of Western Anasazi cultural affiliation representing occupations in the period between about A.D. 600 and A.D. 1150, or perhaps as late as A.D. 1200. In addition to these sites, a single Archaic site was tested to yield a date of A.D. 80. At the same time, a total of 17 post-Anasazi Paiute sites representing activity between the thirteenth and the nineteenth centuries were also examined. The report surrmarizes both the history of previous archeological research in Washington County and the prehistoric cultures thought to have been present in the area during the past 10,000 years. More importantly, against this background, a fairly detailed description of the present environment of the St. George Basin and the Quail Creek area is presented as a baseline from which to evaluate subsistence techniques employed by the prehistoric inhabitants.

As would be expected in an enterprise involving this number of sites, the project has focused on the intertwined issues of continuity and the change in culture history. The evidence has been found in structural forms, the objects of material culture, and in the subsistence patterns revealed through the analysis of pollen and macrofossil evidence. Architectural information has been derived more facilities than it has from habitation elements. dictated by the nature of the data recovered si nee far more numerous than habitation structures. from the study of storage This approach has been storage units have proven Passing time has al so been chronicled in the gradual change in ceramic vessel forms and, above all, in changing painted ceramic designs. Detailed study of the lithic assemblage demonstrates more continuity than change in the flaked stone industry of the region, and there appears to have been little change in ground stone forms as wel 1. The recovery of bone artifacts proved to be much too limited to produce good evidence for either change or continuity. Perhaps more surprising, the results of the ecofactual studies of pollen and macrofossil evidence appears to lean more in the direction of continuity than of change.

It is a matter of some dissatisfaction that the imperatives of time and space have dictated that this report must remain a descriptive one. In a very real sense this means that the scholarship remains incomplete. The authors do not intend that this deficiency should be allowed to remain for an unlimited period of time. Plans for an interpretive discussion of the results of the project are already being formed and it is intended that the interpretive paper will be published within a reasonable length of time. Those who have accumulated experience in Western Anasazi research will perhaps feel less need for such an effort. For others, however, the effort will prove valuable and it will meet the obligation of those who have generated the data to complete the study.

Publication Date

Wed, 01/10/2018


National Office


Collection: BLM Library
Category: Cultural Resource Series