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Measuring occupation span at two stone circle sites in Larimer County, Colorado




Meeker, Halston F.C., author
LaBelle, Jason M., advisor
Pante, Michael, committee member
Jacobi, Tobi, committee member

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Stone circle sites are notorious for low artifact frequencies. This deters archaeological study because low artifact frequencies are thought to limit research potential. Two stone circle sites, Killdeer Canyon (5LR289) and T-W Diamond (5LR200) offer insight into short-term habitations, despite their low artifact frequencies. The two sites are located in northern Colorado, in the hogback zone along the Front Range of the Southern Rocky Mountains. The Colorado State University field school excavated the sites in 1982 and 1971 respectively. Artifacts from the interior of the features include lithic tools and debris, bone, and ceramics. This thesis examines each artifact class from excavated context as a proxy for understanding the length and number of occupations. Local and non-local chipped stone ratios, faunal procurement and processing strategies, and petrographic analysis are used to address how long and how many times each site was occupied. New radiocarbon dates show contemporaneity between rings at each site, dating Killdeer Canyon to the late A.D. 1600s and T-W Diamond to the late A.D. 1200s. These data demonstrate the ephemerality of the two sites but highlight potential differences in site use. While Killdeer Canyon likely represents a small group passing through an area, T-W Diamond could represent a larger group congregation, perhaps for hunting purposes. Furthermore, this thesis attests to the merit of using multiple lines of evidence to compensate for small sample sizes.


2017 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.

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Rocky Mountains
stone circle


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