Dolores Archaeological Program Technical Reports, DAP-061: Environmental Studies Report

Author(s): Bruce F. Benz; Vickie L. Clay

Year: 1980


The Environmental Studies Group has completed laboratory and field studies that serve as a comparisons for projections back in time. These include maps that inventory the present day bedrock geology, landforms, soils stream orders, and present and potential-natural vegetation. Two experimental gardens provide case studies of the potential of subsistence agriculture in the Dolores Archaeological Project area under present day conditions.

Analysis to date of geological, faunal, and floral (including pollen and tree-ring) materials recovered from archaeological sites gives indications that the resources used prehistorically are similar to those available today. Further, the C-14 dated studies of plants collected by packrats and accumulated in their middens and the stratigraphy of Sagehen Marsh suggest that the plants and environment during Pueblo occupation may have been similar to that of today. Estimates of annual precipitation (Based on transformations of southwestern Colorado tree-ring indices) have been extended back to AD 909 and will be extended even earlier.

Sedimentary fill in prehistoric pitstructures provide depositional records that bridges the gap between pueblo occupation and the present. A study is proposed to analyze some of these in the Project area. Finally, the evaluation of sampling designs used dictates that caution and experience be used in interpreting archaeological materials recovered in the Project area. Poor preservation of organic material has been a major obstacle.

Cite this Record

Dolores Archaeological Program Technical Reports, DAP-061: Environmental Studies Report. Bruce F. Benz, Vickie L. Clay. Dolores Archaeological Program Technical Reports. Salt Lake City, Utah: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region. 1980 ( tDAR id: 394805) ; doi:10.6067/XCV86H4M2V


Spatial Coverage

min long: -108.606; min lat: 37.464 ; max long: -108.483; max lat: 37.592 ;

Record Identifiers

Bureau of Reclamation Contract No.(s): 8-07-40-S0562


General Note: As of April 2015, this and additional reports are hosted on the US Bureau of Land Management, Dolores Archaeological Program website;

General Note: Those listed as contributors in the individual & institutional roles section are the authors of the accompanying appendices or a section(s) of the report.

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