A reevaluation of the Huscher collection

Material Information

A reevaluation of the Huscher collection
Solomon, Herbert L
Publication Date:
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vii, 154 leaves : illustrations ; 29 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Indians of North America -- Antiquities -- Colorado ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Anthropology.
General Note:
Department of Anthropology
Statement of Responsibility:
by Herbert L. Solomon.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
28141521 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L43 1992m .S646 ( lcc )

Full Text
Herbert L. Solomon
B.A., University of Southern Colorado, 1988
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Herbert Lee Solomon
has been approved for the
Department of
Linda Curran-Everett
Susan Collins
/V /??£

Solomon, Herbert L. (M.A., Anthropology)
A Reevaluation of the Huscher Collection
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Linda Curran-
The Huscher Collection, housed at the Denver Museum
of Natural History, contains a variety of cultural
material from the Uncompahgre Plateau and Saguache
County. The Huschers' field work took place from 1939 to
1942 and was supported by the Denver Museum of Natural
History and several other organizations. An important
part of their research was the recording of stone pit
structures, which the Huschers called "hogans." As a
result of their research, the Huschers developed the
theory that the Athabascans traveled through the Rocky
Mountain region of Colorado between A.D.1000-1150 during
their migration to the Southwest.
Ethnographic and archaeological research performed
since the Huschers has uncovered information that
disagrees with the Huschers' theory. The ethnographic
evidence consists of eyewitness accounts related by
Pueblos Indians that the Athabascans arrived in the
Southwest from the Eastern Plains. The archaeological
evidence includes architectural and lithic tool style
differences between the earliest Athabascan sites and the
sites recorded by the Huschers.

The purpose of this thesis is to explore the origins
for these pit structures, looking specifically at the
influence of the Anasazi, Fremont, Athabascan, and the
Apishapa cultures through architectural and artifact
comparison. The comparison suggests that these structures
were built by indigenous populations, possibly the Utes,
from the Uncompahgre Plateau and San Luis Valley as the
result of contact with surrounding cultures.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidates thesis; I recommend its publication.
Linda Curran-Everett

I dedicate this paper to the memory of my parents
Robert and Nadene Solomon.
I would also like to thank the Anthropology
Department at the Denver Museum of Natural History for
allowing me the oppertunity to work on the Huscher
Collection. The members of my thesis committee have
gained my deep gratitude for their patience and advice
during the writing of this paper.

1. INTRODUCTION........................................1
Research Problem.................................2
Theory of Athabascan Migration...................7
Huschers' Cataloging Methods....................11
Description of Sites............................13
Review of Literature ...........................28
General Description of the Collection...........36
Description of Methods Used.....................37
4. CULTURAL COMPARISON................................60
Architectural Features..........................65
Cultural Material...............................80
5. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION............................107
A. CATALOG SHEET.....................................116
E. POINT TYPOLOGY CHART..............................143
REFERENCES CITED.......................................147

3.1 Huscher Collection Cultural Material...........36
3.2 Projectile Points Hogan Sites..................40
3.3 Projectile Points Hogan Sites..................41
3.4 Projectile Points Unknown Sites................42
3.5 Projectile Points Deep Sites...................43
3.6 Bone Material..................................48
3.7 Ceramic Material...............................50
3.8 Ceramic Material...............................51
4.1 Time line of Regional Cultures.................61
4.2 Map of Regional Cultures.......................62
4.3 Map of Uncompahgre Plateau.....................63
4.4 Map of San Luis Valley.........................64
4.5 Basketmaker Pithouse...........................68
4.6 Fremont Pithouse...............................69
4.7 Apishapa Pit Structure.........................75
4.8 Jicarilla Apache Structure.....................77

The Huscher Collection contains cultural material
from the Uncompahgre Plateau and the San Luis Valley that
has been in the possession of the Denver Museum of
Natural History (DMNH) since 1942. Betty and Harold
Huscher, who acquired the collection between 1939 and
1941, were associated with the Colorado Museum of Natural
History (CMNH) from 1936 to 1942 and assisted with the
museum's research in Western Colorado. The CMNH changed
its name to the Denver Museum of Natural History in 1948.
The Huschers felt that the lithic, ceramic, bone,
and miscellaneous material in this collection suggested
that the Athabascans had traveled through the
intermontane regions of Colorado during their migration
to the Southwest. Although the Huschers investigated a
variety of sites, they focused on stone structures they
described as "hogans." These structures were circular in
shape with an average diameter of two meters and a height
of between 1\2 to 1 meter. Little if any research
involving the collection has been done since the initial
work by the Huschers.
Current knowledge about the ethnographical history
of the Athabascans suggests that their migration to the

Southwest took a different route than the one suggested
by the Huschers (Dutton 1985; D. Gunnerson 1956; Hester
1962). In addition, archaeological material from known
Athabascan sites is clearly dissimilar to the material
collected by the Huschers (Reed and Horn 1990; Hester
1962). If the Huschers were mistaken in the analysis of
their work, then an obvious question arises: who is
responsible for these structures?
Research Problem
The purpose of this thesis is to "perform" a new
analysis of the cultural material in the Huscher
Collection and to explore the possible cultural origins
for these pit structure sites. An important part of this
investigation is that many of the artifacts in the
Huschers7 collection, as well as their descriptions of
structures, are similar to artifacts and structures from
the San Rafael Fremont, Anasazi, Athabascan, and Apishapa
cultures. It is possible that these cultures could have
made contact with the local populations, possible Ute, on
the Uncompahgre Plateau and San Luis Valley. This contact
could have occurred in a variety of ways: trade between
the two groups perhaps, or the migration of a small
segment of a neighboring culture into either the
Uncompahgre Plateau or San Luis Valley.

At this point it should be emphasized that
identifying the Athabascans as a possible origin for the
Huscher sites does not necessarily support their
intermontane migration theory. Ethnographic evidence
presented in Chapter 4 will show that the Athabascans
arrived in the Southwest as nomadic hunter and gatherers
from the Great Plains with their subsistence dependent
upon the buffalo. In addition, archaeological evidence
indicates that the earliest style of hogan used by the
Athabascan were built totally out of wood with no stone
masonry. It is the view of this thesis that any influence
that an Athabascan ethnic group had on either the
Uncompahgre Plateau or San Luis Valley occurred after
their arrival in the Southwest.
In order to determine the culture responsible for
these sites, comparisons of architectural styles,
projectile points, ceramics, and rock art styles will be
made. This thesis will concentrate only on these elements
because they are the most diagnostically distinct.
One of the first problems to address is the term
used in describing these structures. Based on
architectural style, it would be inappropriate to use the
term "hogan." Gilman (1987:584) defines the term "pit
structure" as "any noncontiguous building whose floor is
excavated below the ground surface." Since the majority

of the structures that the Huschers recorded have an
excavated floor, either the term "pit structure" or
"structure" will be used throughout this thesis. Even
though the Huschers recorded a number of different
structures their main interest was directed towards the
structures that average around 2 m in diameter, contained
evidence of a stone wall above ground, and an excavated
It is important to emphasize that a museum such as
the DMNH provides a continuity for archaeological
research by providing a standard for the preservation of
collections that other institutions, such as
universities, are unable to provide. While the research
potential of these collections could be of great
assistance to the academic world, unfortunately it is
often overlooked.
Chapter 2 is a general overview of the research
preformed by the Huschers. Included will be a review of
the articles written by the Huschers, the methods they
used to catalog the collection, and a description of the
sites that they recorded. Chapter 3 investigates the
current state of the Huscher Collection by describing the
method used to catalog the four categories of artifacts:
lithics, bone, ceramics, and miscellaneous material.
Chapter 4 compares the structures and artifacts recorded

by the Huschers with similar elements from the Anasazi,
Fremont, Apishapa, and Athabascan cultures in an attempt
to distinguish any evidence of contact between these
cultures and the cultures on the Uncompahgre Plateau and
San Luis Valley. Chapter 5 will discuss the conclusions
that can be drawn from the present knowledge about the
Huscher Collection.

The Huschers were associated with the CMNH from 1936
to 1942. Betty Huscher worked as the assistant curator of
archaeology, and Harold Huscher assisted Dr. H.M.
Wormington with her excavations on the Western Slope of
Colorado during the 1937 and 1938 field seasons. During
their field work from 1939 to 1941, the Huschers worked
as an independent team with financial support from the
CMNH, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the
American Philosophical Society. No evidence was found
that either of the Huschers possessed any advanced degree
in archaeology or anthropology during the period of their
Some of the problems with interpreting the Huschers'
work can be attributed to Harold's obsession in keeping
people from stealing his ideas and material. Most of the
individuals interviewed for this thesis who had contact
with the Huschers go to great lengths in describing how
protective Harold was of his research (Ackerley 1989;
Buckles 1987; Smith 1989; Wood 1989). Smith, whose
Master's thesis investigated the history of the DMNH

archaeological collection, related how Harold threatened
to sue the DMNH if she cited his work in her thesis
without his approval (Smith 1989). Another problem caused
by the Huschers' secretiveness is the ambiguous methods
they used to record sites. This problem will be discussed
latter in this chapter.
Shortly after 1942 the Huschers seem to disappear
from archaeological research in Colorado. Although
evidence suggest that Harold and Betty are still living,
Smith found during her interview in 1985 with them that
they had forgotten most of the information about their
research on the collection. More recently, the Huschers
have relocated again, and the author was unable to
interview them.
Theory of Athabascan Migration
The main objective of the Huschers' field research
in the early 1940s was to develop a better understanding
of the more obscure cultures from Colorado's prehistory.
The Huschers felt that many gaps in the chronology of
Colorado prehistory could be filled by doing research in
the western region of the state. Many of their basic
assumptions can be found in three of their articles:
"Influence of the Drainage Pattern of the Uncompahgre
Plateau on the Movement of Primitive People" (H. Huscher

1939), "The Hogan Builders of Colorado" (Huscher and
Huscher 1943), and "Conventionalized Bear-Track
Petroglyphs of the Uncompahgre Plateau" (Huscher and
Huscher 1940).
The "Movement of Primitive People" article describes
Harold's theories about how the environment can affect
human settlement patterns. The article focuses on the
routes that early populations used to cross the
Uncompahgre Plateau and the characteristics of sites
along these routes. The sites include rock shelters,
windbreaks, and open sites such as wikiups. Huscher
believed that the factors that influence the location of
a site include: shelter, nearness to water, the presence
of game, and trails (1939:27). Most of the sites that he
recorded lacked one of these requirements, but had
compensating factors. The article does not go into detail
in describing the compensating factors except to say that
the shelter caves at the mesa tops would be in the summer
range of deer and elk.
The "Bear-Track" article is an update of earlier
work published by Harold on the distribution of bear
track petroglyphs on the Uncompahgre Plateau. It appeared
that naturalistic bear tracks petroglyphs were widely
distributed throughout the Great Basin and the
conventionalized petroglyphs seemed to be only a local

manifestation in the Uncompahgre Plateau. The Huschers
felt that the naturalistic bear tracks on the Uncompahgre
Plateau were older than the conventionalized tracks.
"The Hogan Builders of Colorado" is the most
comprehensive article written by the Huschers and is the
report of their three-year study conducted in western
Colorado. This article focuses on the investigation of
stone structures that the Huschers called "hogans." The
Huschers used this term as a generic description for any
circular stone structures from the prehistoric period,
and they did not want to imply that they believed that
these structures were built by the Navaho. The Huschers
investigated "hogan" sites in sixteen Colorado counties:
Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Eagle, Mesa, Delta,
Gunnison, Montrose, Chaffee, Park, Teller, Douglas, San
Miguel, Ouray, Mineral, and Saguache.
The methodology used by the Huschers in the field
consisted of three parts (Huscher and Huscher 1943:3):
First: the identification of site types by
surface survey with particular attention paid
to the location of sites from which stratified
records might be obtained. Second: test
excavation of selected examples of particular
types to obtain representative artifact series.
Third: the comparison of the recovered material
and material culture traits with published
archaeological, ethnological and historical
records to establish the proper vertical and
horizontal relationships.

In dating the "hogans", the Huschers used the
ceramics found at the sites as a reference. Most of the
pottery dates between A.D. 1000-1500. They argued that
the "hogans" could have been built over the past one
thousand years. The Huschers state that "the earliest
date of A.D. 1000 found this architectural form (hogan)
fully developed and guite stable based on the presence of
pottery" (1943:72). The Huschers ruled out the influence
of the Basketmaker/Pueblo cultures on the builders of the
"hogans" since the basic construction style of the two
groups was guite different. They described the "hogans"
as circular, dry, laid-stone masonry and the Anasazi
structures as guadrilateral adobe-stone masonry, or
adobe-plaster jacals. The Huschers felt that the
Athabascans built these structures during their migration
to the Southwest.
The hypothesis used by the Huschers to describe the
route the Athabascans took during their migration was as
follows: "Since the Northern Athabascans were accustomed
to well-timbered and watered areas they would have been
forced to stay as close as possible to this environment
on their migration south" (1943:78). In addition, the
Huschers argued that the ceramic material they recovered
from the San Luis Valley was very similar to known
Athabascan pottery (1943:41).

Although the Huschers are best known for their
Athabascan migration theory, their research interests
extended to understanding the entire archaeological
record for Colorado. As an example, the Huschers believed
that 93% of the cultures from the post-glacial period in
Colorado had not been investigated by the late 1930s
(1939:18). The seven percent that had been studied
included the Anasazi culture and the Paleo culture found
at the Lindenmeier and similar sites.
The Huschers suggested too that research in the
Rocky Mountain region could lead to a better
understanding of the relationships between prehistoric
cultures. They felt that any culture that traveled in the
Rocky Mountain region would have crossed the divide at
one time or another. The Huschers' field notes and
published articles assert their belief that the
Athabascan migration through western Colorado is just one
in a number of migrations made by different cultures in
that region.
Huschers' Cataloging Methods
When compared to modern methods, the Huschers
cataloging technique appears very vague. Part of the
problem is that the field notes for the 1940 and 1941
seasons are missing and the 1939 notes do not contain an

in-depth description of their field methods. The
Huschers' cataloging method consisted of each site
receiving a two- or three-letter designator, such as HAH,
HWW, HMF, or HT.
Another problem with the Huschers' field notes and
published articles is that there is no complete list of
the designators for each site. The sites that the
Huschers do list with their designators are "Jeff Lick
Hogan" (HJL), Middle Fork "Pit Houses" (HMP), Cactus Park
Open site (HC), and Harvey Place (HH). One of the biggest
challenges that the collection presented was matching
many of the sites with their designator. Smith during her
research was able to match the Tracy Canyon (HT) and the
Capt. Smith Spring site (HES) with their designators. The
designators seem to suggest the location of the site. For
example HT implies Huscher Tracy Canyon, or HMF relates
to Huscher Middle Fork Canyon. The sites that have a
matched designator seem to bear this out.
Along with the often unclear state of their site
designators, the Huschers provided little explanation for
their method of numbering artifacts. In the notes the
Huschers made for site HMP, they list three artifacts and
their distance from the site. The artifacts are listed
as: HMP-1, surface outside of rings; HMP-2 west, about 20
ft. surface; and HMP-3 west about 75 ft. surface. It is

this lack of clarity that has taken away much of the
importance in the research preformed by the Huschers.
Using a computerized database to do an analysis of
the artifact numbers for each site revealed no systematic
pattern because more than one artifact from many sites
share the same number. Also, some sites with only one or
two artifacts have large numbers such as 50 or 30. In
none of the sites are the artifacts numbered in a
consistent ascending order. My only guess is that
artifacts were numbered in the order of discovery and
after fifty years of collecting dust, many of the
artifacts are missing. Even though the number of missing
artifacts may be unusual, there is still a large enough
sample that conclusions about the cultural processes that
have taken place at these sites can be made.
Description of Sites
Within their field notes the Huschers developed
three different categories to describe the major
characteristics of the recorded sites. These categories
are: deep sites, "stone hogans" sites, and Ute sites. The
Huschers describe the deep sites as "being of such great
antiquity that they require dating by geological methods"
(1939:v). By their definition, however, any site
partially buried could be called a deep site. The "hogan"

sites were stone structures whose appearance were
believed to be similar to the structures built by the
Athabascans. The Ute sites consist of wickiups, tree
platforms, and hunting blinds.
Deep Sites
The Tracy Canyon (HT) site, located at the mouth of
North Tracy Canyon in Saguache County, was discovered by
Leslie Henry in a gully after a rainstorm had exposed
several artifacts. The first cultural layer contained
cist-shaped, rock-lined hearths, manos and metates,
percussion blades, core scrapers, and many plano-convex,
corner-notched points. The Huschers felt that the points
are similar to points found at Basketmaker sites located
in the southwest corner of the state (1939:32).
After recording the exposed site, the Huschers
opened a test trench where they found similar lithic
artifacts plus a variety of bone fragments. A few of the
fragments appear to be awls. The Huschers felt that the
site did not have enough material to be identified as
part of any known culture.
The Capt. Smith's Spring site (HES) is five miles
from the Dry Escalante Ford where a spring rivulet
crosses a road. Sixty-five yards upstream from the road
the rivulet enters a pipe, and fifteen yards to the right

of the pipe is a cut bank that reveals ash-mixed rubble.
Excavation showed that occupation began when the surface
level was ten feet below its present level. Between three
and six feet below the surface, corner-notched and ovate
blade points made out of quartzite and chalcedony were
the predominant artifacts found. The concentration of
ovate points occurred between the four- and six-foot
levels, and corner-notched points were at the three-foot
mark (1939:39) .
The Cactus Park site is located to the left of
Unsweep Canyon at the foot of Nine Mile Hill in a large
open park-like valley. Within this park the Huschers
recorded both a deep site and an "open site." The Cactus
Park Open Site (HC) is 1.5 miles east of a bridge with
two pines trees to the north and seven pines trees to the
south. The site consisted of twenty cists, all
pentagonal, and lined with sandstone slabs exposed by
erosion. The cultural material recovered from the site
includes pottery sherds, projectile points and fragments,
drills, utilized flakes, and a mano. All of the pottery
sherds were Anasazi smooth utility ware.
Fred Coffman, the informant for the site, believed
the cists were hearths. The Huschers gave no specific
theory for the cists, but felt that they were of
Basketmaker age. The deep site is south southwest of

Seven Pines, and has a gully with a rock ledge. There was
no excavation of that site nor were surface artifacts
found, but the Huschers felt there was a good chance of
finding the remains of a shelter (1939:43).
The five other deep sites Criswell Creek, Old
Wells Place, Blumberg Place, Escalante Fork, and
Escalante Forks Gypsum Cave all consisted of hearths as
the only sign of cultural use (1939:49-59). The Huschers
gave no in-depth discussion of the cultural similarities
between the deep sites. The only observation that they
make is the need for more research at each site.
"Stone Hogans"
This section will describe each of the sites that
the Huschers categorized as a "hogan." The general
description for these structures is that they are located
on hilltops, mesa rims, or on the slopes of steep-sided
bluffs. Hearths and middens are described as being very
scarce and hard to find, but present at most sites. The
roofs are believed to have been tripod-framed conical
shape made from timber, and a number of the "hogans" had
an excavated floor (1943:55).
The "Pit House" village is two and one half-miles
south of Saguache along the Gunbarrel road at the south
promontory of the San Juan Volcanoes (1939:63). This site

was rerecorded in the 1950s and was given the site number
of 5SH02 by the State Office of Archaeology and Historic
Preservation. The condition of the site at the time of
the Huschers' visit consisted of from twelve to twenty
structures that were originally excavated to depths of
one to two feet and contained walls that measured one to
two feet high. The walls appeared to have been very
unstable since the builders used round boulders. The
diameter of the houses ranged from 6 feet to 18 feet, but
no evidence of doors, hearths, or roofs were found.
Because of bad weather the Huschers only spent a few
minutes at the site.
Sites HSH and HAH are located in the general area
around Saguache, and both contain over twenty stone
structures (1943:7-14). The Huschers make an interesting
statement that HAH and HSH are two of ten "hogan" sites
located close to the town of Saguache. The interesting
part of this statement is that of the ten "hogan" sites
cited by the Huschers they only describe four of the
sites in any great detail.
The Huschers seemed rather hesitant in identifying
site HSH as a village because the houses show no plan in
their arrangement. They felt that it was possible that
this site developed over a period of time. The site
consists of around forty structures divided into two

clusters on a high promontory. During the summer of 1941
the Huschers visited site HSH several times and "test
excavated" one structure. The purpose in excavating the
structure was to "determine probable type of entrance,
floor profile, hearth and posthole location, probable
roof types, to verify any surface finds, and to establish
the exact relative position of any artifacts" (1943:9)
Other structures at the site were excavated by the
Saguache chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society
Henrietta Boyd, the president of the chapter,
reported that the excavations performed by her group
uncovered projectile points, similar to the ones
collected by the Huschers, and beads (Huscher and Huscher
1943:11). Boyd also revealed that in the past, grayish
black pottery had been recovered from the site.
The Huschers' investigation found that the diameter
of the structure was 3.9 m and the entrance was a gap in
the wall .8 m wide. There was no entrance vestibule to
mark the opening as the door. The Huschers could not find
any evidence of the floor, which they felt was rather
strange because surrounding soil had a high clay content
that would have easily become packed from daily traffic.
The Huschers felt that the dimensions of this house
were entirely adequate for it to be used as a dwelling.

No evidence of a hearth or roofing material was found.
Most of the artifacts associated with the structure were
washed in along with much of the fill. The artifacts
collected from the site by the Huschers include small,
corner-notched points, metate fragment, manos, edged
flakes, and one bone gaming piece.
Site HAH is located on a high lava mesa at an
altitude around 9,000 feet, a short distance from
Saguache to the west. The twenty to forty structures are
spread out over 160 acres. The Huschers describe the
basic construction method used at the site as D-shaped
structures with only fourteen structures that could be
accurately measured. The wall height for any structure
was not over two feet, and the average diameter was 2.4
m. Structures that were not built over bare rock showed
clearly defined floor excavation.
One unique trait at this site was that many of the
stone slabs used in the walls lean toward the center of
the structures. The roof could have been wooden poles in
a conical shape with the slabs leaning against the poles
from the outside. The doorway for these structures
appeared to be only gaps in the wall. The artifacts from
this site include corner-notched points and 17 sherds of
dark grey utility ware, burned buff on the exterior with
the imprint of a cord-wrapped paddle.

Another village site is HWW, located fifty miles
southwest of Saguache on a lava hill overlooking a bend
in the North Fork of the Rio Grande. This site
encompasses nearly twenty "hogans", but provided few
artifacts since it had been a favorite spot for local pot
hunters (1943:14). The average diameter of the structures
was between nine and ten feet. Although the site had been
worked over, the Huschers were able to find two greyish-
black micaceous potsherds.
The Huschers felt that the single "hogan" sites
hidden in the hills around Saguache County are more
characteristic of the settlement patterns in the San Luis
Valley (1943:13). The only site of this type cited by the
Huschers is HTH. It is in a little pocket on a lava rim
halfway up a mountainside. The structure is D-shaped with
the door opening on the east wall. No measurements were
given, but the Huschers mention finding grayish-black
utility ware at this site.
On the Uncorapahgre Plateau the Huschers found no
village clusters, but stated that sites containing either
single or multiple structures could be found on every
point of rock or alluvial cone. From this description one
might come to the conclusion that this settlement pattern
was a widespread phenomenon in the plateau region.

Jeff Lick Hogan (HJL) site is located a hundred feet
below a pass between Bear Pen Gulch and Jeff Lick. It is
about 200 yards east of a Civilian Conservation Corp
gravel pit on the Uncompahgre Forest Divide road and
about 3/8 mile north of the local highway (1939:66).
This site is in a valley and well hidden except from the
The Huschers mention four stone "hogans" in their
site description, but conducted no excavations. The
Huschers theorized that the structures were originally
excavated to a foot deep then a dry masonry wall 18
inches thick and two feet high was erected and the roof
was made from poles set in a conical form. The diameter
for each of the structures were given as: 3.6 m for
structure one, 2.05 m for structure two, 3.3 m for
structure three, and no measurement was given for
structure four. Two small depressions were found under a
large boulder next to structure two that could have been
used for storage. Two manos were the only artifact found
in these depressions.
The Middle Fork Hogans (pit houses) (HMP, HMF) are
located one and one-half miles above the upper fence of
the Picket Corral Middle Fork Field. In the 1939 field
notes the Huschers used the site designator of HMP, but
in the 1943 publication there is only mention of site

HMF. The descriptions of both sites have enough
similarities that there is a good chance they are located
in the same general location.
The Huschers describe the presence of two structures
located close to a talus boulder at site HMP. They make
reference to the structures as rooms and to a common
wall, which seems to indicate that this site consisted of
one structure with two rooms. Their diameters were given
as 3.6 and 4.0 m. A large boulder was used to form part
of the northern end of the first wall. No evidence of a
door or roof was found, but the site had a large number
of hammerstones and two corner-notched points.
The HMF site contains four structures that are very
similar to structures HH and HJL. All four structures
were excavated between 1940 and 1941. Each of the
structures had a partial bedrock foundation that assisted
in the preservation of the walls. Structures one and two
are described as sharing a short section of wall in
common; their diameters were 3.8 and 3.4 m. The diameters
for structure three and four were 5.5 and 3.2 m. The
floors for each structure were distinguishable: structure
one and three were flat, while two and four had a basin
shape. Only structure one contained any evidence of a
having a door. Structures one and two both contained
evidence of hearths and of having been burned sometime

after abandonment because of the red discoloration on the
The Harvey Place Hogan (HH) is about two miles up
Kelso Creek from the junction with the main fork of the
Escalante (1939:72). The site is a single "hogan" with
only a petrograph located on a boulder making up the
site. The Huschers describe the structure as a circle
with a diameter of 5.4 m that incorporates part of a
boulder that had been hollowed out by the wind. The
doorway was located on the northeastern wall, and there
was a hearth in the center of the structure. In the 1943
article the hearth is described as unlined, basin-shaped
and partly filled with brick-sized burned stones. A
pinyon tree over one hundred years old was growing in the
structure. Evidence of the floor was found in the
southern half of the structure, consisting of natural red
clay and ash-filled soil.
The Sawtelle Stone Tower (HSP) is close to the
Sawtelle house, but the page in the field notes with the
exact description of the location of the site is missing.
The stone structure is described as being deteriorated
beyond any hope of recognition. The cultural material
consisted of lithic, bone, and ceramic materials from a
trash dump at the site (1939:80). Sometime between 1940
and 1941 the Huschers revisited the site and discovered

that the site was not a tower but a pit structure on top
of a natural mound. Within the structure two storage
cisterns were found. The larger cistern was big enough to
hold around one bushel of foodstuff. There was no trace
of a door or a floor. Three postholes were found 12 m
east of the pit structure and a hearth was found outside
the structure that had been covered by a stone slab.
The sites from the Uncompahgre Plateau described in
the 1943 publication, but not referred to in the 1939
field notes are: HHC, HHR, HRH and HMH. The description
for each of these sites is very general.
Both sites HHC and HHR are physically larger than
the other sites recorded by the Huschers. Many of these
"hogan" sites visited by the Huschers were believed to be
Indian fortresses by the local population. Both of these
sites were included in the "Hogan Builders" article as
examples of actual Indian fortresses (1943:17,19). These
sites could very well be part of the culture describe by
Toll (1975) since they are both located in San Miguel
The HHC structure is in the San Miguel River
drainage and is larger than the other sites, except for
site HHR, visited by the Huschers. They described the
site as a fortress with three walls consisting of massive
dry-laid masonry standing at a height of four feet in an

area 70 by 80 feet (1943:17). The fourth side of the
enclosure is an outcrop of a rirarock ledge. A mound of
rubble was located at the middle of the structure. No
entrance was found, but two rooms were built along the
south wall. Lithic tools were the only artifacts
recovered from the site.
HHR is located on the south slope of the Uncompahgre
Plateau on a canyon rim along a lesser tributary of the
San Miguel River (1943:19). This site is another large
site described as a possible a "Puebloan" ruin measuring
120 feet east-west and 60 feet north-south with a large
depression measuring 25 by 40 feet in the southwest
quarter of the structure. The Huschers felt the
depression could have been a kiva. The site also
contained a smaller structure with a diameter of 5.5 m at
the northeast corner of the larger structure. This site
was thought to be evidence of a possible link between the
"hogan builders" and the "Puebloan cultures."
A structure was found 100 hundred feet below site
HHR and contained two rooms measuring 6.1 m and 4.3 m.
The number of stones still present at the site indicates
a wall height of one meter. No doorway was found.
HRH is a single, oval room with a diameter of 2.3 by
4.0 m situated on top of a large talus boulder located
near the bottom of a well-watered canyon (1943:22).

Another room was located adjoining the boulder to the
east but had deteriorated to the point that it had became
unmeasurable. The walls are of well-selected slabs chosen
so that the thickness of the wall would fall between 12
and 16 inches. The Huschers felt that the wall joints
were broken with sufficient regularity to show that the
builders understood the principles of masonry. They
considered the site another good example of a dry-laid
"hogan." Two projectile points, one point fragment, and
one utilized flake were recovered from the site.
The only information the Huschers give about site
HMH is that it is located in Mesa county, which is
unfortunate since this site contained some very
interesting artifacts (1943:30). The most interesting one
is the only corner-tang knife in the collection. In
addition, a cache located 100 yards east of the site
contained charred remnants of corn cobs.
A general description for the sites that the Huscher
defined as "hogan" are: The diameter of the structures
ranges between 2.04 and 5.5 m with either an oval or D
shape. The walls were made of dry-laid stone masonry with
heights ranging from 60 to 90 cm. The hearths at the San
Luis Valley sites were not found inside the structures
and were theorized to have been located outside the
structures. Six of the sites from the Uncompahgre Plateau

contained evidence of a hearth. The typical floor for
these sites consisted of a shallow depression of packed
soil. This description does not take into account sites
HHC and HHR since both are larger than the other sites
recorded by the Huschers. Also, they are located south of
the Uncoiupahgre Plateau.
Ute Sites
The material from the sites discussed below does not
represent the entire amount of Ute material collected by
the Huschers. There is evidence from written records in
the possession of the archaeology lab at DMNH that the
collection once contained Ute material that is now
Dry Mesa Wickiup (HD) is on the east rim of the Dry
Mesa, southeast of the head of a trail (1939:93). The
Huschers recorded six different wickiups at this site.
The cultural material in the collection from the site has
one projectile point from the Escalante Phase, and four
pottery sherds: one fingernail pattern sherd and three
smooth utility ware.
The description of the Blumberg Shelter site (HBL)
is only in the 1943 publication (1943:30). The site is a
cave located on the north side of the same canyon as
sites HSP and HMF and was discovered by a field assistant

during the 1941 season. The interesting thing about this
site is that it contains a majority of the perishable
material found in the collection, such as corncobs and
arrow shaft fragments.
Review of the Literature
Since the early forties there has been much research
done on the origins of the Athabascan cultures.
Ethnographic evidence suggests that the Athabascans
traveled over the eastern plains of the Rocky Mountain
region during their migration south (Dutton 1985:65; D.
Gunnerson 1956:346).
During the Spanish exploration of the High Plains in
1541, Castaneda, one of Coronado's men, learned from the
inhabitants of the Pecos Pueblo that the Teyas and
Querecho Apaches arrived in the region 16 years earlier.
When they arrived, the Apaches were well-adapted to life
on the plains, hunting bison and using dogs as pack
animals (D. Gunnerson 1956:346).
Recent archaeological work in the northwestern
region of New Mexico has uncovered evidence that the
Athabascans arrived in the Southwest between A.D. 1350
and 1700. This period is known as the Dinetah phase (Reed
and Horn 1990:289; Hester 1962:62). Hester originally
dated this phase between A.D. 1500 and 1700. Reed and

Horn gave the Dinetah phase an earlier date of A.D. 1350
from radiocarbon dating of artifacts from the Kin Atsa
site. An interesting characteristic of the Dinetah phase
is that the wooden fork pole hogan used during this time
is believed to be the oldest method of construction for
these structures.
Hester lists other cultural material of the Dinetah
phase as: corner-notched, expanding stem and side notched
expanding stem-projectile points, Dinetah Brown Utility
pottery, and tubular pipes. Hester also believes that a
major trait of the Athabascan prehistory is that there is
very little original culture left after removing all the
Puebloan influences (1962:72). Hester also cites
Castaneda's account from the Pecos Pueblo as evidence
that the Athabascans arrived in the Southwest from the
Eastern Plains and not over the Rocky Mountains.
Buckles' argument against the presence of the
Athabascans on the Uncompahgre Plateau centers on his
research of the heartline rock art. The heartline motif
has its origins in the Athabascan cultures which diffused
throughout the southwest and during his research on the
Uncompahgre Plateau Buckles did not find any examples of
this rock art(1971:1327).
Other research from around the Uncompahgre Plateau
region that focused on sites with similar architectural

and artifactual attributes to the Huscher sites consists
of work by Hurst (1946,1948), Toll (1975), and Crane
(1978) .
Hurst, a professor at Western State College in
Gunnison, Colorado, spent most of the 1940s excavating
sites along the Western Slope. The cultural material
recovered by Hurst is similar to the material collected
by the Huschers including Mesa Verde pottery and corner-
notched projectile points. The sites excavated by Hurst
are both cave and multiple-room structures in Montrose
county that he described as sharing characteristics of
the Anasazi culture. These sites are the Tabeguach Caves
and Pueblo, and the Cottonwood Pueblo and Cave
(1946,1948). The Tabeguach Caves I and II contained
artifacts from Basketmaker II and Ute cultural groups
respectively. The Cottonwood Cave is classified as a
Basketmaker site, and the pueblo site dates from the
Pueblo II Phase. Both of the pueblo sites contain
multiple-room structures unlike the single-room
structures sites recorded by the Huschers. An interesting
fact about Hurst's reports was the discovery of a cache
bundle in Cottonwood Cave consisting of 14 ears of corn
and a large amount of shelled corn. What makes this
circumstance interesting is that the cache is located in

a region where there is no evidence of prehistoric
Toll conducted a survey of the Dolores River below
the town of Dolores in 1975 as part of cultural resource
impact study for the Bureau of Land Management. The
environment along the river created a diversity of
settlement patterns. The canyon floor just below city of
Dolores is large enough to accommodate full-scale
horticultural subsistence. Toll did find Anasazi sites in
this area. The rapid change to deep canyon below the
Dolores River Ranch requires a nomadic form of
subsistence with very little if any evidence of the
Anasazi culture. Toll uses two theoretical definitions
developed by David Clarke technocomplex and regional
subculture to help explain the cultural activity on the
Dolores River:
Technocomplex is a group of cultures that
shares a polythetic range of assemblages, but
have differing specific types of the same
general groups of artifact types. These
assemblages are responses to common factors in
the environment, the economy and technology.
Regional subcultures are populations of a
single culture that develop distinctive
cultural traits because of poor
intercommunication and growing isolation (Toll
From his research on the Dolores River below the
Dolores River Ranch, Toll found it hard to identify the
cultural group that was responsible for the stone

structures. Although Toll discusses the possible presence
of the Fremont culture in the Dolores River he does not
describe in detail the architectural features at any
site. Toll does describe certain characteristics that the
structural sites in the Dolores Canyon share with the San
Rafael Fremont including: individual or small blocks of
rooms; sites are located away from the flood plain; small
quantities of pottery; and the presence of corn
(1975:159). The pottery sherds collected from the sites
are described as definitely Anasazi. Floral samples from
the main sites suggest a heavy reliance on pinyon, corn,
and juniper as food sources. Toll felt it would be
impossible to place a monthetic description of either
Anasazi or Fremont to the area because of the mixture of
cultural traits. On the level of the technocomplex for
the region, Toll feels it is likely that this sedentary
culture on the Dolores River developed its own
subsistence pattern because of isolation from the main
cultural centers of either the Fremont or Anasazi
Cathy Crane (1978), whose research in the drainages
of the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers follows that of
Toll, compares the pit structures in Western Colorado to
those of the San Rafael Fremont based on settlement
patterns, social organization, and subsistence

strategies. The important contribution that Crane makes
is a list of the vegetable matter that was recovered from
the Weimer Ranch sites on the San Miguel River. At three
of the sites the remains of corn had a high distribution.
It should also be pointed out that seeds and other
remains of juniper (Juniperus sp) and pinyon pine (Pinus
edulis) were also high at these sites (1978).
Reed (1984:33-40) feels that the San Rafael Fremont
could be the cultural source for the pottery sherds
recovered from the Uncompahgre Plateau because it is the
closest formative culture to the region, but he also
discusses the possibility that an archaic culture could
have developed semi-sedentary subsistence patterns
without influence from another culture.
In recent years, the discovery of pit structures in
the uplands of the Rocky Mountains has given rise to the
definition of a new cultural tradition called the
Mountain Tradition (Metcalf and Black 1988; Black 1991).
Black views the Mountain tradition as a "separate
ecological adaptation to upland terrain, over an extended
length of time and covering a broad geographical area"
(1991:4). The time period for this tradition is from
around 9500 B.P. to 4500 B.P. but it was present in some
areas of the southern Rockies up to 700 B.P.

The characteristics that appear in the Mountain
Tradition are: settlement systems emphasizing upland
environments on a year-round basis; frequent use of split
cobble tools; presence of microtools after 6000 B.P.;
divergent styles of projectile points with general
similarities to Great Basin types; habitations and
shorter-term dwelling structures in upland settings; and
distinctive rock art with general similarities to Great
Basin styles.
The presence of a habitational structure that could
be defined as a pithouse such as the Yarmony site (which
will be discussed below) is described by Black as the
most convincing case to support year-round occupation of
mountain environments. However Black (1991:21) feels that
a great deal of indirect evidence has been found that
supports winter occupation: Intensive labor investment in
the construction of a sophisticated habitation structures
along with the presence of interior hearths, and the
presence of rodent-proof interior slab-lined storage
bins. Also the evidence of storage of prickly pear pads,
a floral item available in winter. The majority of these
sites are located in winter range of deer and elk. There
is evidence of intensive use and reuse of chipped stone
material despite local availability of raw material,
suggesting poor access due to snow cover and frozen

ground. Finally the intensive processing of animal bone
including low-yield elements such as marrow extraction
and bone grease/juice production is another indication of
site utilization during the winter season The
importance of the Mountain Tradition lies in the fact
that it emphasize the ability of archaic cultures to
maintain a semi-sedentary level of subsistence in regions
of very inhospitable weather.
Although no recent research has been done
specifically on the pit structures in either the
Uncompahgre Plateau or San Luis Valley, but in the last
thirty years a cultural complex for the Uncompahgre
Plateau has been developed (Wormington and Lister 1956;
Buckles 1971). Information from the Uncompahgre Complex
will be used to help date the pit structure sites in both
regions. Chapter 3 will discuss how this information and
ceramic analysis can be used to increase knowledge about
the pit structures sites.

General Description of the Collection
The amount of cultural material presently in the
Huscher Collection is impressive. Figure 3.1 is a
breakdown of the type and number of artifacts in the
collection. The number given for each group is the total
of individual artifacts.
Figure 3.1
Appendix C contains a breakdown of the artifact
categories for each site. Most of the sites contained

artifacts that were either lithic, ceramic, or bone
material. Artifacts that did not belong in these
categories were placed in the miscellaneous category.
Although in terms of numbers this division is the
smallest, it contains some interesting artifacts. Most of
this material came from either the deep sites or the
Blumberg Shelter site (HBL). The material in this
category includes corn cobs, stone beads, arrowshaft
fragments, charcoal samples and a metal projectile point.
The following sections will outline the methods used
in cataloging each artifact group, and the distribution
of artifacts for each site.
Description of the Methods Used in
the Reevaluation of the Huscher Collection
Before any discussion of the cultural origins for
the artifacts in the Huscher Collection, there needs to
be a general explanation of the methodology used to
classify the artifacts. Since many of the sites are from
the Uncompahgre Plateau, an important reference used was
Dr. William Buckles' dissertation. An important part of
Buckles' research is the development of a chronological
table for the region that covers the cultural stages of
the Uncompahgre Complex (1971:1248).
H.M. Wormington and Robert Lister established the
Uncompahgre Complex from their investigation of the

Moore, Casebier, Alva, and Taylor sites. The evidence
cited by Wormington and Lister in defining these sites as
a single complex was the presence of unique adze-shaped
scrapers and Uncompahgre flake tools at each site. Also,
polished rock artifacts were found in a cache at the
Taylor site (Wormington and Lister 1956:78).
Buckles strengthened the definition of the complex
by developing a chronological table for the region based
on his research. Buckles felt that tools resembling the
Uncompahgre tools can be found in other regions; he also
believed that many stylistic differences of the artifacts
in the complex are based mostly on environmental
differences and not cultural.
The table developed by Buckles contains 11 phases
and assemblages that span the period from 8000 B.C. to
1880 A.D. These dates are based on the comparison of
projectile points from different stratigraphic levels and
carbon 14 dates from two different charcoal samples. A
copy of the table developed by Buckles is presented in
Appendix D along with a short excerpt from Buckles7
dissertation describing each unit.
In cataloging this group, I began by describing the
physical attributes of each projectile point. The charts

used by the archaeology lab at DMNH, collected by Robert
Akerley, divide projectile point identification into
seven attributes. They are: blade shape, cross section,
notching, shoulder shape, stem shape, base shape and
material type (see, Appendix E for examples of the
The diagnostic lithic material found in the Huscher
Collection consists of three different minerals: chert
180 points, guartzite 77 points, and chalcedony 44
points. The point typology chart for the Uncompahgre
Plateau Complex was used to date the projectile points
based on physical similarities. Using this method meant
placing a point in a certain phase was based more on
visual comparison than using the numbering system of
characteristics devised by Buckles.
Figures 3.2 through 3.5 are graphs showing the
distribution of points from the different phases at each
site. Below is a key for abbreviating the phases used in
each graph:



Figure 3.2

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.4

y f

The one common feature in each "hogan" graph is the
cluster of points from the Ironstone phase to the Camel
Back Phase. Comparing this distribution with the
chronological table developed by Hibbets et al.(1979),
one finds that it appears these sites were inhabited
during the Post-Archaic period (A.D. 400 A.D. 1500).
The presence of points from the Archaic period (1000 B.C.
- A.D. 400) indicates continuity with Uncompahgre Complex
culture described by Dr. Buckles because of the
collection and reuse of these points by the cultures of
the Post-Archaic period (1971:1225).
The deep sites graph shows that the distribution of
points found at site HES is between the Horse Fly and
Camel Back phases. The distribution of points found at
site HT is between the Monitor Mesa and Ironstone phases
and suggests that the site was used until the Late
Archaic period. One point fragment from this site dates
from the Shavano Spring assemblage during the early
historic period, and along with a metal projectile point,
may indicate that the site was used by two different
groups from separate periods. The reasoning behind this
belief is that there are no points from either the Coal
Creek or Camel Back Phases, which could imply a period of
time when the site was not used.

There are lithic tools present in the collection
categorized according to function, but they have little
value in dating the sites. These tool classes include
point/knives, drills, debitage, utilized flakes,
preforms, hanunerstones, knives, choppers, scrapers,
gravers, metates, and manos.
The functions of certain categories are not as well
defined as the point category since most experts disagree
on their possible use. The point/knives argument centers
on whether this tool was used as a projectile point or as
a knife. These artifacts are similar to projectile points
except they are unnotched, and the condition of the blade
edge suggests they were used for cutting. The Huscher
Collection contains 22 point/knives, with 4 artifacts
from the early Uncompahgre Complex phases, while 17
artifacts are components of later phases. Another problem
with this category is that several of the artifacts could
be preforms.
Drills are tools that were used to make depressions
in softer material such as wood or bone. The physical
characteristics are a wide base and a lengthened bit.
There are 16 drills in the collection; eight are from
deep sites and the other half are from "hogan" sites.
Debitage is classified as the debris from chipping
activity and there are 579 flakes that show no secondary

flaking. Utilized flakes can be classified as debitage
with secondary flaking along its edges. Buckles found
this tool class to be numerically the most important
cutting tool class on the Uncompahgre Plateau (1971:232).
Preforms are considered unfinished projectile
points. Knives are tools whose function consist of
cutting with a slicing and sawing motion. Hammerstones
are used to smash and pound rather than cutting and
chopping. Chopping tools are large core tools that are
hand held and have thick cutting edges. Scrapers are used
in the preparation of hides and can be distinguished from
chopping tools by having edge angles greater than 35
degrees (Buckles 1971:252). Manos and metates are used in
the processing of seeds and hides. Manos are held in the
hand and rubbed against the metate.
Bone Material
The bone material in the Huscher Collection includes
112 fragments. This material cannot be used for any
diagnostic purposes because its context with other
artifacts is unknown. Still, from studying its physical
attributes, bone material can provide valuable
information about the possibility of domestic activities
taking place at a site.

The attributes used to catalog the bone material in
the collection consisted of charred, polished, awls, and
cooked. Any artifact burned in some way was placed in the
charred category. Unlike bone that has been cooked
usually only a portion of a bone has been discolored
during the charring process. It is possible that burned
bones were used in making fires or were heated and
fractured for marrow (Buckles 1971:576). Cooked bone can
be identified as having a light black discoloration
covering the entire artifact. This phenomenon is caused
by the cooking of fat into the bone during the
preparation of the meat (Akerley 1988). The polished
category consisted of any artifact with a polished
surface. Awls are characterized by a manufactured tip and
used for a number of domestic purposes. Figure 3.6
represents the distribution of each of these categories
in the Huscher Collection.
Figure 3.6 also shows the number of artifacts per
site. The OF BONE" label to the right of the graph
represents the total number of bone fragments for each
site. The remaining four labels depict the number of
fragments with these characteristics for each site.


Figure 3.6

Ceramic Material
The ceramic material in the Huscher Collection has
358 sherds and can be divided into the three general
categories of Anasazi, Plains, and Ute. Figures 3.7 and
3.8 reflect the distribution of sherds per site with an
emphasis on decoration, manufacture methods, and use.
Figure 3.7 shows the sites with small amounts of ceramic
material and figure 3.8 shows the sites with large
numbers of sherds. The titles for two of the legends are
abbreviated due to limitation of space. UBW/F stands for
Uncompahgre Brown Ware with a fingernail decorative
finish, and UBW/S stands for Uncompahgre Brown Ware with
a smooth finish. The decorative legend stands for the
Mancos Black on White sherds.
The reference material used to identify the ceramics
included Buckles7 dissertation (1971:1243) for the Ute
material, "Prehistoric Ceramics of the Mesa Verde
Region," Breterniz et al. (1974) for the Anasazi
material, and for the San Luis Valley material
Gunnersons7 article "Plains Apache Archaeology" (1968).
The Ute ceramic material in the collection is similar to
the Uncompahgre Brown Ware described by Dr. Buckles.

CK |
V j
Figure 3.7

Figure 3.8

The Anasazi material has three categories:
corrugated utility, smooth utility and decorative ware.
After comparing the Anasazi ceramics with the reference
material, most of the sherds appear to belong in one of
three different categories: Mancos corrugated ware,
Mancos Black on White, and Mummy Lake smooth utility
ware. The material from the San Luis Valley is a
grayish/black with mica used as a temper. There are a
total of 114 sherds. One cord-marked sherd was uncovered
at site HDS, and six similar sherds were found in the
collection without any type of site identification. The
Huschers mention finding cord-marked sherds at site HAH
(1943:43) .
Miscellaneous Material
The miscellaneous material found in the collection
includes corn cobs, beads, basketry material, charcoal
samples, arrow shaft fragments, and one metal projectile
point. Most of this material came from the cave site HBL
that consists of six corn cobs and three arrow shaft
fragments. Two of the shaft fragments are wood, while the
third is reed. The site also included a small amount of
grass that the Huschers identified as basket material.
The corn cobs were picked while still green, which the
Huschers argue is an indication that they were picked by

someone with no appreciation of the true value of corn.
Five of the beads were from site HMF, two were from HMFH,
and all are soapstone. One bead from site HBL was of an
unknown mineral. The five charcoal samples were all from
site HES, and the metal projectile point was found at HT.
Site Classification
Before a discussion on the cultural origins of the
Huscher Collection, a description of the methods used in
site classification is needed.
Buckles (1971:1260) believes that the "stone
structure" sites recorded by the Huschers served a
multitude of uses. He felt that because of their location
the main use of these sites was as hunting blinds. This
question of site use needs to be answered before looking
at their cultural origins.
In contrast, Wolcott Toll (1977:45), in his study of
the Dolores River drainage, used a process where the
function of a site could be determined during surface
surveys from the presence or absence of certain artifact
categories. For example, kill sites, lookouts, and
vegetable procurement sites should contain fewer
artifacts than domestic sites.
The influence for Toll's approach can be found in
the article "Notions to Numbers: Great Basin Settlements

as Polythetic Sets" by Williams, Thomas, and Bettinger
(1973). This approach is polythetic in scope several
attributes are used in defining the use of a site -
unlike monothetic definitions that use only one
attribute. The authors feel that even with the growing
importance of the guantitative method in archaeology, the
intuition of the scholar plays an important part in
Monothetic definitions are bounded by rigid
adherence to specific rules. "Classification from above,"
such as the sorting of specimens into finer groups, is
the example provided by the authors. Polythetic groupings
provide the researcher greater leeway in using intuition
in the development of typologies. Toll uses polythetic
groupings to base the definition of domestic sites on the
arbitrary presence of three of the following seven
attributes: prepared tools, grinding tools, sherds, flat
area, structure, overhang, and fire.
In exploring the possibility that the Huscher sites
are hunting blinds, it is beneficial to compare them with
known hunting sites. A good example of a hunting blind
can be found in Benedict's article "Excavations at the
Blue Lake Valley Site, Front Range, Colorado" (1979). The
difference between the Blue Lake site and the Huschers'
sites is that the Blue Lake site is in an alpine

ecosystem on the front range of Colorado and the
Huschers7 sites are in the mesa ecosystems on the Western
The location of the Blue Lake site seems perfect for
a hunting blind, bordered on one side by a late-lying
snowfield and on the other side by a spruce fur
krummholz. The trait that Benedict used to define the
Blue Lake Valley site as a hunting blind was the absence
of any domestic cultural material. The recovered cultural
material includes 26 tiny lithic flakes, one projectile
point, and one smooth pebble uncovered from inside the
Another hunting site was recorded by Henrietta Boyd
(1942:28). This site, titled the "Saguache Antelope
Traps" is twenty miles west of Saguache on a high mesa
that requires a steep climb of a 1000 feet. Boyd was a
guide for the Huschers when they worked in Saguache
County, and the site is mentioned in the Huschers7 1939
field notes on page 132. The site has four traps located
on the rim of the mesa, built out of logs and boulders.
The traps were constructed so that when antelopes were
chased over the rim of the mesa they would become trapped
in the enclosures. The one similarity that this site
shares with the Blue Lake Valley site is the absence of
any domestic artifacts.

The following chart lists the cultural material from
each of the "hogan" sites. The first subdivision is the
material that is listed in the Huschers' 1939 field notes
and 1942 report, and the second subdivision lists the
artifacts that are presently in the collection:
HSH: Stone structure, projectile point, fragments of
manos and metates, edge flakes, beads, and grayish-
black pottery.
Ten point and point fragments, one bone fragment,
and 20 lithic flakes.
HAH: Stone structure, projectile points and gray
cord-marked utility ware
26 points and point fragments, one point/knife, four
lithic flakes, eleven utilized flakes, one
hammerstone and one graver.
HTH: Stone structure, core implements, projectile
point, and pottery sherds.
Three points and point fragments, 114 pottery
sherds, 22 lithic flakes, 18 utilized flakes, and
four cores,
HWW: Stone structures and two grayish-black
micaceous sherds.
Five utilized flakes.
HJL: Stone structures, two manos, tip of quartzite
point, chalcedony and quartzite flakes, metate, two
corner-notched knives, one-side notched point and
several corner-notched points.
Three point and point fragments, one point/knife,
six lithic flakes, one knife, two cores and one
HMP: Stone structure, two corner-notched points, two
manos and a number of hammerstones.
One point.

HMF: Stone structures, Anasazi pottery sherds, bone
tools, manos and corncobs.
31 projectile points and fragments, 32 bone
fragments, 75 pottery sherds, one point/knife, 73
utilized flakes, one preform, two hammerstones,
three knives, and one core.
HSP: Stone structure, pottery sherds, 18 corner-
notched points, scrapers, blade fragments, stone awl
and corncob.
22 points and point fragments, 14 bone fragments,
106 pottery sherds, four point/knives, four lithic
flakes, one preform and one mano.
HHC: Stone structure, projectile points, manos,
hammerstones and scrapers. A quarry was discovered
100 meters to the south of site.
17 points and point fragments, two stone drills, one
point/knife, 34 lithic flakes, 41 utilized flakes
and one graver.
HHR: Stone structure, Anasazi pottery, metates,
16 projectile points and point fragments, one stone
drill, 25 pottery sherds, and one point/knife.
HH: Stone structure.
Four projectile points and point fragments, two bone
fragments, and 25 lithic flakes.
HRH: Stone structure.
Three points and point fragments, and one utilized
HMH: Stone structure.
Five points, ten pottery sherds, sixteen utilized
flakes, two hammerstones, and one lithic knife.
The majority of these sites contained at least three of
the seven attributes (not including the stone structures)
that Toll uses to identify a domestic site.

Although the sites contained multiple number of
artifact groups the overall number for artifacts is
rather small for domestic sites. The artifact count for
the Sagehill Hamlet site in the Dolores River Valley
included 52 flaked stone tools, 351 debitage items, and
55 nonflaked stone artifacts; ceramic material included
over 500 sherds; but only one bone tool was recovered.
The artifacts recovered from the Turner-Look site in Utah
included 272 stone tools, 636 projectile points, 158 bone
tools, 4,416 pottery sherds, and 55 fragments of
The small number of artifacts at the Huscher sites
could be an indication that these sites were used for a
short period or they were utilized only for a specific
season of the year. Another explanation is that many of
the sites visited by the Huschers were popular with local
pot hunters. From the remarks made by the Huschers, it
appears that a number of their guides were pot hunters.
This popularity could be a major reason for the small
number of artifacts recovered at many of the sites.
The main question that remains is: who built these
structures? Ethnographic evidence indicates that the
Athabascans migrated to the Southwest through the Great
Plains, and the archaeological record shows that the
earliest hogans built by the Athabascans were made

entirely out of wood (D. Gunnerson 1956; Reed and Horn
1990). Chapter Four will compare the architectural and
material culture from the Anasazi, Fremont, Apishapa, and
the Athabascans from the Southwest with the sites
recorded by the Huschers and the material in the Huscher

Chapter 3 demonstrated that the pit structures
recorded by the Huschers could be domestic settlements
based on the variety of artifacts found at these sites.
The next step is to consider the possibility that
neighboring cultures had some influence in the San Luis
Valley and Uncompahgre Plateau. This chapter will compare
the architectural features, projectile points, and
ceramics recorded by the Huschers with similar material
from the Apishapa, Jicarilla Apache, Mountain Tradition,
Fremont, and Anasazi Basketmaker cultures in an attempt
to highlight significant similarities.
Figure 4.1 is a time line for the major cultures
that are part of the discussion in this paper. Figure 4.2
is a regional map showing the relationship of the
Uncompahgre Plateau and San Luis Valley to surrounding
regions. Figure 4.3 and 4.4 are maps of the locations for
many of the sites recorded by the Huschers. Figure 4.3 is
a map of the sites on the Uncompahgre Plateau and figure
4.4 is a map of the sites in the San Luis Valley. The
location of sites on both maps are only speculative since
the Huschers did not provide specific descriptions for
any site.

0 AD
500 BC
1000 BC
1500 BC
3000 BC
3500 BC
I1 2 3 4 5 6 I
i !
5 I
Time line for Regional Cultures
Figure 4.1
1) Anasazi culture Cordell 1984:101.
2) Fremont culture Jennings 1973:162.
3) Uncompahgre Complex Buckles 1971:1248
4) Apishapa culture Gunnerson 1987:86
5) Jicarilla Apache Gunnerson 1987:114
6) San Miguel culture Crane 1978:1.

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.3

Figure 4.4

Architectural Features
In comparing the architectural structures from these
cultures with the structures described by the Huschers
the following characteristics of the Huschers sites
should be remembered: the diameter of the structures
ranged between 2.04 and 5.5 m with either an oval or D
shape. The walls were made of dry-laid stone masonry with
heights ranging from 60 to 90 cm. The hearths at the San
Luis Valley sites were not found inside the structures
and were theorized to have been located outside the
structures. Six of the sites from the Uncompahgre Plateau
contained evidence of a hearth. The typical floor for
these sites consisted of a shallow depression of packed
Basketmaker Culture
Of all of the cultures in the American Southwest the
Anasazi is probably the best known, and the Basketmaker
culture of the Anasazi is its early form. The Anasazi
culture dates from roughly A.0. 400 to A.D. 1800. The
major Anasazi settlements in the Southwest are Mesa Verde
and Chaco Canyon in southwestern Colorado and northern
New Mexico, the Rio Grande River Valley in central New
Mexico, the Kayenta culture in eastern Arizona, and
Virgin Anasazi in eastern Nevada.

The evolution of the Anasazi culture appears to have
developed from the archaic hunting and gathering stage to
pithouse villages and finally to above-ground multi-room
multistory structures. The Anasazi were able to support
this progression by the domestication of corn, beans, and
squash. The region inhabited by the Mesa Verde Anasazi is
situated close to the Uncompahgre Plateau and the San
Luis Valley. It is possible that the Anasazi could have
made contact with the inhabitants of these areas. One
interesting and well known trait of the Mesa Verde
Anasazi is that they built pueblos in the alcoves of
mesas. More important, however, at lest for this thesis
are the characteristics of their pithouses. Pithouse
sites recorded by the Dolores Archaeological Program and
on the Chapin Mesa will be used to make a comparison.
The Sagehill Hamlet (5MT2198) site was excavated in
1978 by a University of Colorado field crew working for
the Dolores Archaeological Program. The site consisted of
one pithouse structure with a main chamber and an
antechamber. Structure shape was described as deep and
circular with square corners and slightly undercut walls.
The diameter of the main chamber was 3.85 m north-south
and 4.05 m east-west, and the total depth of the
structure was 2.35 m. The upper portion of the wall had
eroded to the point that there was no evidence of

plaster. The lower portion had evidence of being coated
with a thin wash of clay soil.
The floor of the main chamber had a level layer of
puddled adobe laid over the native soil. Features found
on the floor included a hearth, deflector, sipapu,
wingwalls, post holes and floor cist. The hearth had a
diameter of 66 cm and a depth of 16 cm. Only the south
wall of the hearth was lined with stones, the rest of the
pit was unlined with fire-reddened native soil. Four
postholes formed a sguare pattern on the floor, and they
ranged in size from 24 to 30 cm in diameter and 22 to 53
cm in depth. The roof was assumed to have been supported
by the four posts and the superstructure consisted of
secondary beams matting and earth. The floor cist was
kidney-shaped measuring 47 cm east-west and 33 cm north-
south and 21 cm deep. Its fill was the same as the lower
fill of the main chamber, which indicates that it was
empty at the time of abandonment.
The antechamber was found to be roughly oval in
shape, measuring 3.39 m east-west and 2.96 m north-south.
At the north end of the antechamber was an entrance to
the main chamber. Along the east wall of the antechamber
was a ventilator shaft with a tunnel connected to the
main chamber. The shaft measured 2.13 m east-west and

1.91 m north-south, with a depth equal to that of the
main chamber. The tunnel measured 2.70 m in length.
The Pithouse sites on the Chapin Mesa in the Mesa
Verde National Park (Rohn 1977:9) contain many of the
same attributes found in the structure from Sagehill
Hamlet, such as: postholes, hearths, deflectors, sipapus,
storage cists, wing walls, and antechambers. These sites
are dated to the Basketmaker III cultural period. Rohn,
who directed much of the work on Chapin Mesa during the
1960s and 1970s, makes the observation that the majority
of the pithouse sites on the mesa are unrecognizable
until the ground surface has been disturbed, which along
with the interior features of these pithouses demonstrate
their contrast with the structures recorded by the
Huschers (1977:9). Figure 4.5 is a drawing representing a
Basketmaker pithouse.
Basketmaker pit house
Figure 4.5

Fremont Culture
The Fremont culture is located in northern Utah and
northwestern Colorado. Early researchers tried to
classify the Fremont as a variant of the Anasazi, but
this proved impossible after the uncovering of unique
cultural artifacts such as: moccasins, clay figurines and
rock art. The Fremont culture itself is divided into five
different subgroups: Uinta, Great Salt Lake, Sevier,
Parowan, and San Rafael. Dates for the Fremont range from
A.D. 400 to A.D. 1300. Habitational structures at Fremont
sites are mainly circular pit structures that are similar
to Anasazi structures except there is no indication of
religious activity such as the sipapu in the Basketmaker
pithouse. Figure 4.6 is a drawing representing a Fremont
pit structure.

The architectural differences between the five
groups are (Marwitt 1973:140, Jennings 1978:162-234): the
Parowan and Sevier both have structures that are either
circular or quadrilateral pit structures with
ventilators, but only the Parowan used deflectors. The
structures used by the Uinta Fremont are shallow and
saucer-shaped with either random-placed post holes and
off-center fire pits or four post roof supports and clay-
rimmed fire pits. The San Rafael used slab-lined pit
structures made from either wet-laid or dry-laid masonry.
Great Salt Lake Fremont structures are shallow pit
structures with an entryway either through the wall or
the roof.
During the 1940s, H.M. Wormington excavated the
Turner-Look site, which has been defined by later experts
as a San Rafael Fremont site (Wormington 1955). The site
consisted of two clusters of structures, each numbering
four buildings. The diameter of the buildings ranged
between 3 m and 6, m and the walls were constructed
either with wet laid stone masonry or adobe bricks with a
height of between 60 cm and 1.5 m. Most of the structures
had doorways built into the walls. The floors consisted
of packed soil and contained hearths, storage cists, and
post holes.

Along with the description of the Turner-Look site,
Wormington discusses the archaeology of the Northern
Periphery of the Southwest (1955:95). Wormington divides
the Northern Periphery into areas A, B, and C. Area A,
which is the southern section, contains the Lower
Colorado Plateau and part of the Great Basin. Area B lies
to the north of the eastern portion of Area A. The
eastern boundary of Area B is the Wasatch Range and
Plateau, and the western boundary lies somewhere in
eastern Nevada. Area B is further divided into two
subareas: B1, which covers the Sevier Desert and all land
in the Seiver River Drainage; and B2, which centers
around the Great Salt Lake. Area C includes the region
from eastern Utah to the western slope of the Continental
Divide in Colorado and is divided into two different
subareas. Subarea Cl contains West Central Colorado, and
C2 contains eastern Utah and northwestern Colorado.
In the cultural discussion for Area Cl, Wormington
explains the cultural elements of the Uncompahgre Complex
and makes references to the work of the Huschers and
Hurst. Wormington does mention the possibility of a
connection between the Huscher sites and sites from the
Fremont culture by stating "that it is possible many of
the circular and oval structures of dry-laid masonry in
the Upper Colorado Plateau were not domestic dwellings

and may have been built by the Fremont." This theory is
based on the fact that structures with low dry-laid
masonry were found at the Turner Ranch site, which
contained no evidence of being used as shelter
The following examples of Fremont pithouses are from
the Bull Creek Valley in Utah, where, during 1976 and
1977, the University of Utah excavated a number of sites
in the region (Jennings and Sammons-Lohse 1981). The Gnat
Haven site consists of one structure with two successive
occupations. The first occupation saw the construction of
a circular pit 6 m in diameter and 25 cm deep. The second
occupation involved the manufacture of a double wall of
large, unmodified boulders with rubble and adobe fill
making up the core of the wall. Two different floors of
hard-packed soil were uncovered. The earliest floor, at
30 cm below the surface of the site, showed signs of
extensive firing. A round fire pit measuring 83 cm in
diameter and 20 cm in depth was uncovered with the floor.
The more recent floor was separated from the first by 20
cm of fill and showed signs of being constructed with the
wall. The amount of rubble from the wall indicates that
the original height of the wall was around two m. The
site also contained a three-unit surface storage unit

located south of the main structure. It was constructed
of coursed, wet-laid masonry.
Another structure was excavated at the Playa site,
and its measurements were 5.6 m north-south, 6.3 m east-
west, with a depth of 40 cm. A number of turtlebacked
adobe bricks, averaging 10 by 20 cm, were found in the
fill of the structure. The fire pit was 90 cm in diameter
and 15 cm in depth. The structure also contained a number
of postholes, five pilasters, and an entry ramp.
Plains Cultures
The cultural groups from the eastern plains that
could have reached the San Luis Valley date to either the
middle or late ceramic periods. The archaeological record
for the plains of Southeastern Colorado indicate that
during the Middle Ceramic period (A.D. 1000 1400) the
region was inhabited by the Apishapa cultural group.
Gunnerson, who excavated a number of sites in the
Apishapa Canyon, uses the following characteristics to
describe the Apishapa culture: sites are located close to
lower water and canyon bottomland, and structures are
usually round stone enclosures built either on bedrock or
the surface of the ground. The number of rooms for these
structures range from one to 37. No clue has been found
to the location of the entrances, and hearths are usually
found outside the structure.

The Cramer site is a good example of Apishapa
architecture. The overall shape of the ruin is circular
with a diameter of 25 m. It is divided into three rooms,
and there is a south to northwest passage through the
structure with entrances at both ends. The diameter of
room A averages between 7.0 and 7.5 m, and the floor had
been excavated to a saucer-shape depth from 30 to 50 cm.
A trench was dug around the floor to a depth of 30 cm,
with stone slabs set vertically in it for the wall. The
space between the outer and inner row of slabs had been
filled with clay and rubble, on which a second level of
slabs was placed. The original wall was 1 m thick and 2 m
high. No entrance to room A was uncovered, but the hearth
was located in the middle of four roof-support columns.
One stone slab column was still present, but no direct
evidence was discovered to indicate the material used for
the roof.
Room B, which measured 6.5 m north-south and 5.0 m
east-west, is constructed in a similar manner as room A.
Room C is smaller than the other two rooms. The stone
wall measured only .5 m high and could have been used to
brace the butts of poles used to build a conical
structure. Figure 4.7 is a drawing of a pit structure
used by the Apishapa culture.

Room A at Cramer site.
Reproduced from Gunnerson (1989:28)
Figure 4.7
Currently, the only evidence of Jicarilla Apache
occupation in southeastern Colorado is the recovery of
Ocate and Cimarron Micaceous Pottery on the Chaquaqua
Plateau and west of Trinidad. Structural sites identified
as Jicarilla Apache have been excavated in northern New
Mexico. The Sammis and Chase Bench sites are located in
the Ponil Canyon north of Cimarron. The Sammis site
contains an Apache pit structure and a small Pueblo II
surface structure. The pit structure was oval in shape
with a diameter of 3.2 by 3.6 m and a depth of .6m. The
remains of a possible rock superstructure that was built
around the pit structure was found in the fill. Also, the
remains of the roof, consisting of wooden poles and bark,
was also found in the fill. A limited fire had burned in
the structure because the floor and parts of the wall had

a red discoloration. The floor also contained a basin-
shaped hearth.
The artifacts from the Saramis site included pottery
sherds, bone, and lithic material. The two hundred sherds
collected from the fill and around the surface of the
site were all identified as Ocate micaceous. The bone
artifacts included one bone awl 12 cm long and 1.2 cm
wide that was made from the long leg bone of either a
deer or antelope. Several well-preserved fragments of
shattered bone were found on the floor of the pit
structure and were identified as food refuse because
there was no evidence of the fragments having been
The lithic artifacts consisted of one stub-nosed end
scraper, the midsection of a double-bit drill, six
projectile points, and a fragment of a side scraper. The
end scraper and drill are identified as being similar to
artifacts from Dismal River sites in Nebraska. Only one
of the points was complete, and it had a triangular shape
with a slightly concave base and was side notched.
Figure 4.8 is a drawing of a pit structure used by the
Jicarilla Apache.
The Chase Bench site contains nine pit structures
with structure number eight providing the most
information. This structure was a shallow depression with

a diameter of 2.4 m and was surrounded by a ring of rock
measuring .6 m across. A basin-shaped hearth was located
at the center of the structure measuring 57 cm in
diameter and 12 cm deep. The most of the floor was
stained black with a number of adobe fragments, which
could be the remains of the structure's wall or roof. The
only cultural material found in structure eight was an
Ocate Micaceous sherd.
Jicarilla Apache pit structure
Figure 4.8
Mountain Tradition
As discussed in Chapter 2 the Mountain Tradition
contains evidence that archaic cultures in the Rocky
Mountain Region utilized pit structures during the winter
season. An example of this type of structure is the
Yarmony pit house. The Yarmony pit house (Metcalf and
Black 1988) is located in the Colorado River Valley

between Gore Canyon and Glenwood Canyon in Eagle County.
It is considered to be part of the Mountain Tradition
since there is evidence of year-round utilization of the
site and diagnostic tools from this culture. The
structure contained two rooms. The main room was 6 m in
diameter, and the smaller room, directly to the
southeast, was 3.4 m in diameter. Both areas had similar
floor plans with central hearths and a pair of storage
bins. The larger room also had a small, slab-lined pit
near its center. The floor of the larger room was bowl-
shaped with steep walls and a gently sloping floor, and
the smaller room had a shallow, saucer shape. The lower
walls and floor were packed soil, while the upper walls
and roof were mud-plastered. Entry to the structure was
either through the smaller room or through an opening in
the roof.
Initially it appears that the structures on the
Uncompahgre Plateau share a greater similarity with
structures from the Fremont culture than they do with the
Anasazi culture. Overall, the Anasazi pithouses are
deeper and contain a greater number of structural
features that are absent in the Huscher structures. The
characteristic of an above-ground wall that is present in
both the Fremont and Huscher sites is absent in Anasazi

sites. Also the walls for both the Huscher and Fremont
structures are described as dry-laid masonry.
Toll (1975) makes a comparison between the San
Rafael Fremont and the structures that he recorded along
the Dolores River. The characteristics that he lists are:
individual rooms or small blocks of rooms, sites located
on high points away from the flood plain, and the
presence of pottery and corn. Although he does not
describe any of the sites in detail, their descriptions
can be found on file at the State Office of Archaeology
and Historic Preservation. Of the nine sites that
contained structures, only the structure from site
5DL187A is similar in any way to the Huschers7
structures. It is described as a stone slab structure
located next to a heavily vegetated drainage. The stone
slabs are scattered through the site with only one
standing upright. The rest of the sites are described as
being either Anasazi, rock shelter, cists, or historic
structures. It is interesting to note that many of the
sites recorded by Toll do not agree with his descriptions
of structural sites. Tolls7 argument for the presence of
the Fremont in the Dolores River canyon is based mostly
on the fact that many of the hunter-gatherer sites in the
region contained pottery and other elements of sedentary

cultures. Toll described these sites as being "attributed
to Fremont gathering away from structural sites."
Wormington's discussion of the connection between
the Fremont and the dry-laid masonry sites on the
Uncompahgre Plateau is interesting. The problem with it
is that most of the sites recorded by the Huschers can be
categorized as domestic structures and were not used only
for storage. It should also be noted that Jennings and
Sammons-Lohse describe the wet-laid surface structure at
Gnat Haven as being used for storage. It appears that
there is a great variability in the use for wet-laid and
dry-laid structures on the Upper Colorado Plateau.
The sites in the San Luis Valley share a greater
number of similarities with the Jicarilla Apache than
with the Apishapa culture. The structures are not as
elaborate as the Apishapa; they have only single rooms
with an excavated floor and stone wall. In addition,
there is no evidence of any type of roof supports.
Cultural Material
The object of this section is to compare the
diagnostic material from the Huscher Collection with
similar material from surrounding cultures who could have
settled in or traded with the native cultures of either
the Uncompahgre Plateau or the San Luis Valley. The main
focus of attention will be on projectile points and

ceramic material, but the differences in rock art styles
for these cultures will also be considered.
Projectile Points
The Huschers describe the 97 projectile points found
at the "hogan sites" as small corner-notched, and believe
they were manufactured from small, rounded-base blanks by
notching them diagonally. The Huschers stated that this
type of point was popular in southwestern Colorado during
early Pueblo periods. Although the Huschers do not give a
great amount of information in their discussion of the
projectile points the research performed for this paper
provides a wider picture. One problem is that there is a
great variety of projectile point sizes at many of the
sites. Not only are there small arrow points, but there
is also larger dart points used with atlatls. This can
lead to some confusion with the Huschers use of the word
small in describing the projectile points.
Comparing the distribution of points per site from
the graphs in Chapter 3 it is very apparent that these
sites share similar characteristics. One of the important
similarities is the clustering of points from the
Ironstone, Coal Creek, and Camel Back phases at the
majority of the sites. It appears that the culture or
cultures utilizing these sites depended on both the Bow
and arrow, and atlatl for the hunting of game animals.

Another important fact is that, on the whole, the
projectile points in the Huscher Collection are similar
to the point typology from the Ute Prehistory Project
(UPP). If cultural comparisons in this study were based
solely on projectile points, the overwhelming evidence
would indicate a relationship between the sites recorded
by the Huschers and the UPP. The problem with this
comparison is that there are a number of cultural
elements present in the Huscher Collection that are
absent from the UPP. The main difference is that the UPP
did not locate any pit structures. Even the points found
in the San Luis Valley are similar to UPP point typology.
A good example is the deep site HT, which contains eight
points that are classic Roubideau serrated points, and
the only five Monitor Mesa points in the collection.
The UPP collected a large number of points, and
Buckles divided them into 10 subclasses based on physical
attributes, which are listed below. For the first seven
subclasses, points were separated based on size and type
of notching. The next two subclasses contained points
with traits that are similar to points from other
cultural regions. The last subclass contained the points
that could not be classified. The breakdown for each
subclass is as follows:
1. Small, side-notched 9
2. Small corner, basal and stemmed 48

3. Small, unnotched and unstemmed 38
4. Medium and large, unnotched and unstemmed 54
5. Medium and large, side-notched 67
6. Medium and large, corner-notched 51
7. Stemmed 42
8. Archaic 14
9. Lithic stage 19
10. Unclassifiable 170
The majority of points recovered by Buckles can be
described as either stemmed, side-notched, or corner-
notched with either a convex or straight base and a
triangular blade. An important point made by Buckles
about the UPP sites is that lithic artifact distribution
shows continuity between phases through the entire
Uncompahgre Complex. Also important to note is his belief
that no single phase or assemblage appears to be a "unit"
intrusion into the area (1971:1205).
In comparing the points from the Huscher Collection
with neighboring cultures, one finds that the Huscher
points were similar to points from the Uncompahgre
Complex and Anasazi sites in the Mesa Verde region. The
attributes for points from Chapin Mesa described by Rohn
(1977:217) are either side-notched, corner-notched, or
stemmed, with a convex or straight base and a triangular
As the architectural evidence seems to indicate,
Fremont culture could have been present on the
Uncompahgre Plateau. The projectile points found at
Fremont sites in Utah have long triangular blades with

side-notching. As an example, at the Bull Creek sites a
unique style was identified that has a long, triangular
blade, unnotched, with a concave base. In addition, a
number of corner-notched points were found, which
Jennings felt were similar to points uncovered by
Wormington and Lister. Of the projectile points recovered
from the Turner-Look site, 62% were side-notched, only
10% were corner-notched, and the remaining 30% consisted
of points that were both unnotched and unstemmed.
Based on the comparison of projectile points, it
seems that even though the Fremont culture was rather
close to the Uncompahgre Plateau. It is very possible
that they are not responsible for any of the sites in the
region. The reason for this is that side-notched points
appear to have a higher frequency at Fremont sites, while
corner-notched points have a higher frequency at the pit
structure sites on the Uncompahgre Plateau and San Luis
Looking at the Huscher sites in the San Luis Valley,
it seems possible that these sites could have been
settled by the Jicarilla Apache. The Apache sites on the
Eastern Plains share many traits with the Huscher sites.
But the stylistic differences found between the
projectile points indicate two separate cultures. The
projectile points from the Apache sites (Gunnerson 1960)

are described as side-notched, unsteiriined with triangular
blades. Gunnerson uses Strong's "Classification Chart for
Chipped Points" (Strong 1935:88) in describing the points
from Apache sites, and he places them in the NBal
category. This group consists of side notched, unstemmed,
triangular points.
On the average, it appears that the projectile
points used by the Plains and Fremont cultures have bases
and blades that are very straight, while the points from
the Uncompahgre Plateau have bases and blades that are
more convex. The points from the Navaho Dinetah Phase
described by Hester are corner-notched with expanding
stems and side-notched with expanding stems. The
projectile points found at the excavation at Kin Atsa by
Reed and Horn (1990:287) are all classified as Desert
Mountain tradition projectile points are described
by Black as large, either side-notched, unstemmed, or
stemmed with serrated blades. Technologically, these
points are relatively thick with biconvex longitudinal
cross-sections and collateral flaking patterns. The
points have close similarities to points from the Oshara,
Desert Archaic, and Plains Archaic cultures.

One characteristic of the ceramic sherds from the
Huscher Collection is that the origin of the sherds from
the pit structures sites is not the Uncompahgre Plateau
or San Luis Valley. The sherds found at the sites on the
Uncompahgre Plateau are Anasazi decorative and utility
ware. The sherds from the San Luis Valley are a grayish-
black micaceous utility ware and appear to be Jicarilla
Apache. The fact that Anasazi pottery sherds were found
at many sites on the Uncompahgre Plateau should not be
surprising since other researchers in the region have
made similar finds. Reed (1984:34), in his essay
"Prehistoric Context for West Central Colorado," lists
over four hundred Anasazi type sherds that has been found
in the region. At this point it seems necessary to look
at the question of how this pottery from outside the
Uncompahgre Plateau reached the region and what its uses
could have been.
Prehistoric ceramic pottery is generally associated
with domestic activities such as the storage and
preparation of food. There are three distinct
characteristics of pottery that indicate it being used
for domestic purposes: sooting, oxidation discoloration,
and interior surface pitting (Hally 1983). Soot deposits
are a by-product of fuel combustion and are composed of

three substances: distilled resins, oxidized resins, and
free carbon. Oxidation discoloration can produce a wide
range of colors on a single pot, and is caused by the
decomposing of organic material in the paste along with
the presence of free carbon at temperatures above 200
degrees Celsius. This color is usually either gray or
black. Interior surface pitting is the result of
activities such as stirring, scraping or crushing of
contained material. This type of activity would lead to
the weakening of the interior surface of the pot and
creates the pitting of the surface.
Investigation of decorative pottery at the
Grasshopper Pueblo in Arizona supported the belief that
decorated bowls were used to stir, mix, serve, and
possibly store food for short periods (Jones 1989).
Fifty-four of the bowls displayed no evidence of soot or
other discoloration. Twenty-one bowls displayed such a
small amount of soot that it proved only an inconclusive
association with cooking activities. Although food
preparation is cited as a use of decorative bowls, the
evidence of use wear has a higher frequency on the
exterior of the vessels than on the interior. This seems
to indicate other uses for decorative pottery at
Grasshopper Pueblo. Some of these other uses could
include: high-status use associated with an elitist

hierarchy and mortuary cult, a vehicle of information
exchange, and an indicator of social boundaries through
design motifs. Plog (1980:75) believes that decorative
pottery was such an important element in the economic
trade of the prehistory Southwest that it affected design
It should be stated at this point that all of the
pottery sherds in the Huscher Collection from the
Uncompahgre Plateau are from Mesa Verde. Although there
is not enough information to determine whether or not
theses sherds were used in their original function, it is
very probable that they reached the region through
contact between two or more cultures. One strong
possibility is that this pottery arrived as trade ware
since research in surrounding regions not inhabited by
the Anasazi has uncovered enough ceramic material that it
is identified as trade ware. Gunnerson (1989:98)
discusses the fact that sherds identified as Rowe black
and white and Talpa black and white were recovered from
the Snake Blakeslee site in the Apishapa Canyon. Both
pottery types date some where between 1275 and 1400.
Painted sherds from Dismal River Apache sites are Tewa
Red on buff and Tewa Polychrome. The painted ware found
at the Turner-Look site was identified as Mancos Black on
White, Middleton Black on Red, Tusayan Black on Red and

Deandmans Black on Red (Wormington 1955:74). It appears
that the pottery sherds from the San Luis Valley arrived
in the region through similar means although different
cultures were involved.
The sherds from the San Luis Valley played an
important role in the Huschers development of the
Athabascan migration theory (1943:38). They compared
these sherds with Athabascan pottery as part of the
theory that the Athabascans stayed to the mountains on
their migration to the Southwest. The sherds found by the
Huschers at sites HTH and HWW are described as "highly
micaceous, usually quite thin, and has smooth, well-
compacted surfaces inside and out, but ... not truly
polished" (1942:39). During their analysis of the ceramic
material collected during their field work the Huschers
were given assistance by Dr. H. P. Mera from the
Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe New Mexico. Dr
Mera felt that the sherds from HTH and HWW closely
resembled ceramic material found at open sites from
eastern New Mexico to Pueblo, Colorado. Dr. Mera also
mentioned that similar micaceous pottery had been found
in the Gunnison drainage in Western Colorado (Huscher and
Huscher 1942:39).
Gunnerson (1969:26) describes Ocate Micaceous made
by the Jicarilla Apache as being dark grey-buff to black

in color with a temper that is highly micaceous.
Construction was with a paddle and anvil, thinning with
vertical striation made with a corncob. Decorations are
rarely found on Ocate Micaceous pottery. Cimmarron
Micaceous pottery is also identified by Gunnerson as
being made by the Jicarilla Apache. The only difference
between the two is that the lip on the Cimmarron pottery
is thickened or flared to the outside while the Ocate
pottery has a rounded lip. Gunnerson dates both Ocate and
Cimmarron pottery from the early 1700s to around to
The Huschers also described a second group of sherds
that were greyish-black, had less mica than the sherds
described above. This second type of sherds possessed a
sand or rock temper, had thicker walls than the first
type, and was found at the village sites close to
Saguache. The only decoration found on this type is the
use of vertical fingernail incisions in a horizontal line
on neck sherds. This second group are the sherds that the
Huschers describe as being very similar to modern Ute-
Paiute, Navaho, and Jicarilla pottery. It should be noted
that all of the sherds of this type are missing from the
Although the Huschers infer a northern origin for
these pottery types, they do admit that there is little

supporting evidence. The only evidence that they provide
is a reference to a Uren village in Oxford County,
Ontario, excavated by W.J. Wintemberg, where the
descriptions of the pottery uncovered were similar to the
nonmicaceous pottery from the San Luis Valley (1943:45).
A third type of pottery consisting of cord-mark
sherds was found at site HAH. There are still a small
number of similar sherds in the collection, but none have
any site identification written on them. This type of
pottery is described by Gunnerson as being associated
with the Woodland culture of the High Plains (1987:44).
There are numerous ways that the pottery sherds
could have reached the San Luis Valley and Uncompahgre
Plateau. One possibility is that either the Anasazi or
the Fremont reached the Uncompahgre Plateau and the
Jicarilla Apache reached the San Luis Valley. If these
cultures settled in the San Luis Valley or Uncompahgre
Plateau for an extended period of time then it is
possible that they could had left samples of their own
rock art styles. Thus it is important to look at the rock
art for these regions.
Rock Art
The Anasazi rock art is divided into three different
categories: the Chinle Representational Style, the San
Juan Anthropomorphic Style, and the Rio Grande Style

(Grant 1983). The Chinle Representational Style is found
in the Four Corners region. The dominant motif is the
painted anthropomorph, which is found in many forms. The
body can have a solid color, be bisected into two colors,
have only an outline, or be decorated with dots and
rectangular designs. The anthropomorph can have
necklaces, horns, or a feathered headdress; and be with
or without arms, legs, or a head. There are also a great
number of birds along with a small number of bighorn
sheep found in this style. Other elements of this style
include the bird-headed man, the seated flute player, and
the hand print.
The San Juan Anthropomorph is another Anasazi style,
in which the bodies of the anthropomorphs are decorated
with dot patterns or polychrome zigzags, along with
earrings, necklaces, and sashes. The Rio Grande style
has a later date of after A.D. 1300. This style is
confined to sites close to pueblos. The dominant motif is
the kachina mask, which occurs on panels in association
with shields, shield bearers, birds, horned serpents,
four pointed stars, bears, bear tracks, corn plants,
stepped clouds, and Kokopelli.
Fremont rock art includes the Barrier Canyon and
Classic Vernal styles (Grant 1983). The Barrier Canyon
style is dominated by large, broad-shouldered

anthropomorphic figures that lack arms and legs and look
very much like mummies. Other elements include
quadrupeds, snakes, shields, and tiny birds. The Classic
Vernal style includes anthropomorphs that reach life size
or larger and wear elaborate costumes and headdresses.
Figures have square heads and frequently lack arms or
legs. The shield-bearer motif is abundant along with big
horn sheep.
The prehistoric rock art on the Uncompahgre Plateau
is divided into three different styles (Buckles 1971).
The figures in style one are similar to historic life
forms and are made by the intersection of lines rather
than by outlining the whole figure. Figures are very
static and immobile with hunting as the main theme for
most panels, which is represented by a lone hunter and
animal. Human figures lack important features such as
headdresses and clothing. Style two is assumed to precede
style one since life forms are fuller-bodied and more
realistic, and the body and heads are filled in not just
connected by lines. Style two seems to be a transition
between style one and style three. Style three figures
are more realistic than the other two styles; human
figures are shown in the action of throwing spears.
Site HH is the only pit structure site that
contained any evidence of rock art. This sample is