James C. Miller: When it’s Hot, it’s Hot: Changing Climates and Shifting Prehistoric Populations in Western Colorado
Sponsored by Archaeological Institute of America, Denver Chapter
AIA Society: 
Denver
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Location:
The Tattered Cover Bookstore
1668 16th Street
Denver, CO 80202
United States

Recent excavations and environmental studies at the Jeanne Site (5GF741), a rock shelter near Loma, Colorado, have provided a record of periodic use by hunter-gatherers as well as a detailed account of past climates from about 10,000 years ago to present. The small northwest-facing overhang was a satellite site for sheltering groups involved in hunting as well as seed and other plant gathering.  Features used for cooking and producing heat and others used for plant food processing and storage are prevalent.  In addition, a series of post holes in 6500 to 5000 year old deposits suggests the construction of a protective barrier against the elements or simply a wall to isolate one area of the interior space for special use.  Comparison of the frequency of occupations at the Jeanne Site with the frequency of occupations on three other western Colorado sites (5GF1323, the Indian Creek Site [5ME699], and 5ME15398) suggests episodic use of the area by prehistoric people. Past climate reconstructions using pollen and geo-climatic interpretations of aeolian and alluvial deposits suggest heavier use of the area by prehistoric inhabitants during cooler, concomitantly moister climatic conditions.  Similar to human use of the area, accumulated data on bison in the archaeological record over a wider region suggest a pattern of bison population reduction during long term droughts. 

Contact Information
James Jansson
(303) 841-5707

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