Where in the hell am I?

September 23, 2010

Wyoming Day 1

Filed under: archaeology, archeology, survey — Tags: , , , , — John @ 8:45 pm

1.9 Rock cairn at FS 1

Originally uploaded by texasrobo

Well, first field day anyway. It rained some overnight, and there was some concern this morning whether the dirt roads in the survey area would be usable. Fortunately, everything was almost completely dry, and we were able to get to where we needed to go without problems. It ended up being a beautiful day, mostly sunny and clear, with pretty steady and strong west winds to keep it from getting hot.
Currently, we’re testing a predictive model for locating potential tribally sensitive site types. These are defined by the presence of rock cairns (see photo), rock circles, and rock alignments. I guess these either mark ritual or sacred locations, or are used in important rituals. (which I suppose are about the same thing).
The idea is that, based on previous locations of these types of sites, combined with the topography, slope, proximity to water, and other factors I can’t recall, a 200,000+ acre project area was reduced to roughly 7,500 acres of areas with a high potential for Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs). By locating these sites prior to determining the actual project footprint, it can aid in developing this footprint as well as start the process of tribal consultation early in the construction schedule. This is also important as some of the land is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
We’re only surveying these areas at present. We’re also not recording any other site types that are encountered at this stage (although we are taking a GPS point for reference and later revisits!). Likewise with isolated artifacts, be they historic or prehistoric in nature.
Anyway, today I found the first site! I first noticed the stack of rocks in the picture, and called for one of the Denver archaeologists for confirmation. I was right, so we stopped to eat some lunch and record the site. While we were eating, I noticed a small arrow point on the surface downslope from my spot. Two bifaces/fragments, a biface resharpening flake, and another chert flake were found across the site. A second, smaller cairn was located to the east of the first. On the edge of the site, 30+ pieces of amethyst glass from a bottle were scattered.
Honestly, it was a confidence builder to feel like I knew what I was doing. It’s also nice to know that my skills luck at finding artifacts work up in Wyoming.
Click the photo above or here for more pictures from the first day.


1 Comment »

  1. […] because honestly things are pretty much the same every day. The best site was still the one from Day 1. The views are more or less the same, even when working in new areas. We’ve switched to the […]

    Pingback by Blinded with Science…Wyoming Days 9 and 10 « Where in the hell am I? — October 2, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

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