Stunning Colorado

What Doesn’t This Place Have? As I continue through the summer in Colorado, I am continuously surprised week by week with the amount of history we find in the monument. While it is hard work and we can end up hiking all day, the days that we encounter new sites for the first time is one of the best reward I can earn for our hard work. On Monday, we hit the mother load of axe cut trees, 18 to be exact, along with one tin can, and a couple lithic scrapers. We took photographs of each individual axe cut tree. These trees are significant; they are part of a time before the monument owned that land and early Euro-American settlers lived there. The trees were cut down by settlers for houses, fences, etc. before 1911 prior to the park owning that laIMG_0008[1]IMG_0006[1]nd. Today, and since that land has been purchased by the park, it is illegal to cut down trees in Colorado National Monument. These trees provide a historic relevance to the park and the local community of the history that has happened in the park since its establishment. How can we tell what an axe cut tree is? The first picture on the left here shows a close up of an axe cut branch. You can see how clean cut the branch is in comparison to something that may have been ripped off or natural broken. If you look closely you can see the edges of the branch have cuts in them from where the axe was swung into it. The second photo shows an overview shot of an axe cut tree and what we look for while we are out in the field to give insight on how they look while walking around surveying an area. The following day would prove to be even more exhilarating than the last. We came across a site that only got bigger as we continued searching for artifacts. This was a site we would end up working on for the next 3 days! In the end it was well worth it! We found Elko arrow head from the archaic period that was split in to two pieces. From what I am told this is a very rare occurrence to see an arrowhead split perfectly into two parts with no other parts missing from it. This picture shows what we found in the field.IMG_0005[1] It is made out of a grey chert and the sides were worked on so that the edges were sharpened. The arrowhead is form the late archaic period, you can tell by how well it has been crafted and shaped. Earlier tools or projectile points would have been large and less worked on the sides. Later we found a petroglyph, a carved in drawing on the rock, around the site area. You can see this in the image at the top. Unfortunately, it is difficult to make out what it is. It could be a deer or big horn sheep. It has deteriorated too much for me to make out what it could be. We have only just begun survey area 4 on the flat end of the section and still have a lot of surveying to do. I am excited to see what the next week will bring and what new artifacts we will encounter.  

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