Archeological Inventory and National Register Evaluation for the Baca Land Exchange La Jara Reservoir Parcels Conejos County, Colorado


Class III archeological inventory was conducted in the La Jara Reservoir parcels of the Baca Land Exchange between June 9 and October 27, 2005. The project area is 25,080 acres in size. Field crews from the Western Archeological and Conservation Center and Fort Lewis College surveyed 10,852 acres to Class III standards and field checked 5,114 acres. The project led to the discovery and recording of 135 archeological sites and 217 isolated finds. Fifty-one sites are eligible to the National Register of Historic Places. Another 29 sites are not individually eligible but contribute to the La Jara Reservoir Archeological Area (5CN1418; OAHP 2008).

Prehistoric sites include lithic scatters, lithic quarries, open camps, open architectural sites, a sheltered site, and two rock art sites. The Historic period sites include arborglyphs, culturally peeled trees, an ethnobotanical gathering site, historic artifact scatters, and trash dumps as well as several structures and features from this period.

Based on the diagnostic artifacts and features it appears that the La Jara Reservoir parcels were occupied during the Paleoindian, Archaic, Late Prehistoric, Protohistoric, and Historic periods. Several types of site complexes were noted including prehistoric hunting sites – two with drive lines; a cluster of sites with the potential for buried deposits along Poso Creek at an elevation of 8,500 ft; rock art sites in Canyon del Rancho; and Historic period sheep herding sites. The presence of Mt. Albion points at La Jara Reservoir (and Biedell Creek) sites indicates Early Archaic occupation which was previously undocumented in the San Luis Valley. Prehistoric and Protohistoric ceramics were recorded and include two vessels that may be from the Rio Grande Pueblos. One site with substantial evidence of prehistoric occupation is also known ethnohistorically as a place to gather medicinal plants.

The final step required for completion of Section 106 compliance will be the development of a treatment plan for the La Jara Reservoir sites.

Cite this Record

Archeological Inventory and National Register Evaluation for the Baca Land Exchange La Jara Reservoir Parcels Conejos County, Colorado. Susan J. Wells. Publications in Anthropology ,101. Tucson, Arizona: Western Archeological and Conservation Center. 2008 ( tDAR id: 4370) ; doi:10.6067/XCV818358F

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: -8000 to 1950

Spatial Coverage

min long: -106.589; min lat: 36.946 ; max long: -104.65; max lat: 38.557 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Steven M. Baumann; Mona C. Charles; Sally J. Cole; Kathy Croll; Sean Larmore; Ian Crosser; Charlie H. Scott; Kristin Waldvogel; A. Stanley Granger

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