2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


KLAWON, Jeanne E., US Bureau Reclamation, PO Box 25007, Denver, CO 80225, LINCOLN, Thomas, US Bureau of Reclamation, PO Box 25007, Denver, CO 80225 and HOLEN, Steven, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205, jklawon@do.usbr.gov

South Park is an intermontane basin in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Prior to the South Park Archaeological Project very little was known concerning the Paleoindian occupation of the basin. Paleoindian sites located during the survey indicate that South Park has been occupied since the Pleistocene/Holocene transition. Evidence for early Holocene occupation includes sites representing the Foothills/Mountain Complex (8,600-7,800 RCYBP) and the Cody Complex (9,200-8,400 RCYBP) in the northern part of South Park. These sites are surface scatters sparsely distributed on higher, relatively stable landforms. A Folsom Site (10,800-10,200 RCYBP) and two rockshelters, thought to contain Paleoindian occupations, were also recorded in the northern part of the park. Middle and Late Holocene sites have been found both on higher landforms and buried in alluvium along modern drainages.

Numerous springs and spring-related deposits occur near the mountain fronts in South Park. Remains of a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) have been recovered at 9,600’ in spring deposits buried by colluvium. Recent test excavations did not recover any evidence of human association, although the nature of green-fractures on the limb bone is suggestive of potential human action.

The South Park Archaeological Project is sampling a wide range of geomorphic landforms to locate sites representing the full range of human occupation in the basin. Areas of extensive Holocene alluvium occur in the southern and southeastern portion of South Park along Four Mile Creek, Trout Creek, the South Platte River, and tributaries entering the South Platte from the north. Survey in this area is focused on identifying sites on landform surfaces and in bank exposures of major and minor drainages. Extensive deposits of Pleistocene glacial drift and Pleistocene and Holocene outwash gravels occur in the north and west parts of South Park. Survey in this area is concentrating on the surface of Pleistocene fills and exposures in Holocene outwash deposits.