Red Canyon Ranch, located in the foothills of the Owl Creek Mountains southwest of Thermopolis, Wyoming, contains evidence for multiple human occupations from Paleoindian to Historic times. Archaeological investigations and subsequent archaeobotanical analyses and radiocarbon age determinations span a period of several years and are currently ongoing. To facilitate these analyses, a single site designation of 48HO375 has been assigned. The earliest investigation centered on two hearths: one hearth eroding out of a cut bank along Red Canyon Creek and one hearth in the Finger Pasture. Macrofloral samples were collected from each of the hearths for recovery of charred material representing fuel and plants that were processed. A piece of fire-cracked rock with rounded edges, identified in the field as a possible mano, was recovered from the hearth at the Finger Pasture. Laboratory examination confirmed that this mano had been burned, which would have destroyed any pollen evidence; therefore, analysis of this tool was restricted to the recovery of organic molecules using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). In addition, fill from both hearths was subjected to analysis for organic molecules using FTIR. AMS radiocarbon age determinations were made for both features, documenting occupations during the Late Archaic and Late Prehistoric eras.

The dates obtained in 2008 for the hearths were younger than anticipated, so renewed archaeological work in 2010 and 2011 resulted in the submission of additional samples for analysis. An additional hearth along Red Canyon Creek (the Creek Side hearth) was documented, as was a pit in the Corral Point Profile. Sediment from each of these features was examined for macrofloral remains, and AMS radiocarbon dates were obtained on charcoal and charred seeds. The Creek Side hearth also was examined for organic residues using FTIR. A tipi ring located across the creek from the ranch was sampled for pollen and macrofloral remains by Indiana University field school students. Charcoal from the tipi ring also was submitted for AMS radiocarbon dating.

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MACROFLORAL ANALYSIS, ORGANIC RESIDUE (FTIR) ANALYSIS, POLLEN ANALYSIS, AND AMS RADIOCARBON AGE DETERMINATION AT SITE 48HO375, RED CANYON RANCH, WYOMING. Linda Scott Cummings, Kathryn Puseman, Melissa K. Logan. PRI Technical Report ,2010-107. 2010 ( tDAR id: 379986) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8RR1XSP

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min long: -108.932; min lat: 43.289 ; max long: -107.411; max lat: 43.993 ;

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Contact(s): PaleoResearch Institute

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