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Project Volunteers.

2010 Middle Fork Site Recording I PIT Project Volunteers.

Mapping stone circles.

PIT Volunteers mapping stone circles.

Recording rock art damage.

PIT Volunteers recording rock art damaged by the 2006 fire.

Drawing a plan view of a rockshelter.

Volunteers drawing a plan view of a rockshelter.

Middle Fork Site Recording I—BLM BFO 2010 Passport in Time Project

Eight volunteers from five states came to Outlaw Campground on July 11, 2010, to participate in the Buffalo Field Office's (BFO) first Passport in Time (PIT).

Volunteers contributed a total of 320 hours to updating previously recorded archaeological sites, recording new sites, and surveying for rock art in the Middle Fork Recreation Area. Four days were spent at the Middle Fork Recreation Area on the south side of Middle Fork Canyon, and one day was spent recording on Buffalo Creek, in the southern portion of the field office.

PIT is a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program that started with the USDA Forest Service (FS) and is now available to BLM. PIT volunteers work with professional BLM archaeologists and historians on public lands throughout the country on such diverse activities as archaeological survey and excavation, rock art restoration, survey, archival research, historic structure restoration, oral history gathering, and analysis and artifact curation.

Volunteers learned to identify prehistoric artifacts, identify and describe stone tools, and produce plan view maps of rockshelters and stone circles, as well as information about site ethics and the importance of the archaeological record.

Very little prehistoric rock art was found. Two new localities included tool grooves as well as modern graffiti. One of the new localities had been heavily damaged by the Outlaw Fire of 2006 and very little rock art remained. The other new locality, named Tool Groove Shelter, contained hundreds of tool grooves, some prehistoric and some likely historic, along with modern graffiti. Two volunteers, both artists, took the time to draw the rock art remaining in the BFO’s only interpretive site, the Sweem-Taylor rock shelter. These drawings can be compared to previous photographs and drawings to track vandalism and deterioration of the site.

One previously recorded site had two, and possibly three, stone circles noted on the 1987 site form. Visited on the last day of the project, the stone circles were gone, and the stones had apparently been incorporated into two modern fire pits. By the end of the week, this incredibly hard working group of volunteers had updated or revisited six prehistoric sites, identified and recorded six new prehistoric sites, and surveyed approximately two miles of sandstone exposures for rock art. This important work will allow the BLM to determine eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places and establish a management plan for the important resources of this area.


Last updated: 12-22-2010