Friday, May 12, 2006

Archeology of Red Rock Canyon Open Space "disturbed" over years

QUESTION: I was hiking on a trail in Red Rock Canyon Open Space near the house and pond and found a shard of Indian pottery. It is black stripe on white, the same type of shards you find around Mesa Verde. What can you tell us about the Indians who would have been in that area and could there be other archeological finds in the park? Is it illegal to pick them up?
- Hiker

ANSWER: According to Matt Mayberry, director of the Pioneers Museum, there was an archeological survey of the site done several years ago but it was difficult to determine much from it because “the whole site has been very disturbed over the years with quarrying, pond building and other activities.” In addition, part of the land could have signs of its use as a family’s ranch. If the pottery shard you found is connected to early Indian tribes, it could have been from those that traveled through the area such as the Utes and Cheyenne.

Is it illegal to pick up items such as pottery shards in parks? Yes. “It is illegal to take plants, minerals and objects from park sites because it is public property and, from an archaeological perspective, if you remove them from the site it destroys their value because it takes everything out of context,” Mayberry said. “We ask that people who find things in parks not remove them.” Instead, call the city parks department: 385-5940.



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