Archaeological Sites Inventory in the Black Hills of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Las Animas County, Colorado
NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV LAS CRUCES
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Across the western United States there are numerous landforms known as Black Hills, or Black Buttes. These tree-covered areas located adjacent to open plains, appear black on the horizon. This setting of open steppes and juxtaposed hills is found along the eastern portion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site PCMS, a U.S. Army training facility in southeastern Colorado. Archaeologists searching in the PCMS Black Hills found 325 sites of former hunting and gathering cultures. These sites contained artifacts ranging in age from 8000 to 9000 year-old Paleo-Indian remains to those left by 300 to 400 year-old Protohistoric Plains Indian tribes. Archaeologists discovered a pattern to the sites. Those with projectile points and hide scrapers reflecting hunting activities were found on the west-end, and overlooked the grass-covered steppes. Sites with manos and metates, evidence for plant processing, were found along the northern side where they offered access to edible plant communities. Sites with numerous chipped-stone flakes were located on the east portion, where there is access to natural out-crops of cherts and quartzites. The numerous sites and long period of use in the Black Hills attest to the popularity of the juniper and pine covered area for hunting and gathering cultures.
- Humanities and History