Archaeology in a Cretaceous Swamp

Author(s): Collin Rucker; Robert Rowe

Year: 2015


During the Late Paleocene and Early Eocene, a tropic/sub-tropic forest located in a large swamp was located in present day east-central Colorado. Overtime the swamp was enveloped by subsequent volcanic eruptions which resulted in the creation of the Paleosol-Dawson Arkose formation. The primary area of this geological formation is located in Elbert County, between Colorado Springs and the small town of Agate on the plains of Colorado. Large stands of tropical wood, including sycamore, walnut, gingko, sequoia, and palm became silicified as a result of the deposition of the volcanic ejecta. Due to uplifts of the area and subsequent erosion of the formation, large areas of petrified wood have become exposed creating a readily accessible source of stone tool material for native populations to exploit. The presence of this material allowed the native populations to occupy the area with a moderate population. Archaeological surveys in support for the installation of a natural gas pipeline across the study area allowed a unique opportunity for archaeologists to map the area of the silicified wood deposits and determine how much exploitation was taking place and if there was favoritism from type of wood to another.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Archaeology in a Cretaceous Swamp. Robert Rowe, Collin Rucker. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397446)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;