Monday, September 28, 2009

Cimmaron Canyon PIT

cim1I’m finally back from the archaeological survey project in the Comanche National Grasslands. It was a good time but the weather really did a number on us for a couple of days. I arrived at the Carrizo Creek picnic area on Sunday afternoon and it was hot…in the 80’s with little wind. I slept that night with all the windows in the RV open and even took blankets off the bed. cim12

On Monday all the windows were closed and blankets were back on the bed! Temps dropped into the 40’s with rain and strong winds. We actually tried to do some surveying in the rain but conditions were miserable. We located one site and flagged 10 or 15 artifacts. We finally gave up and went back to camp. It was so windy and cold that by the time our cook, Tina, put the hot food out, it was cold. We ate under a picnic shelter but the wind blew rain everywhere. It was just miserable.

Tuesday, the rain became sporadic but it was still windy and cold. We went back to the site we tried to record on Monday and ended up flagging 50 or more artifacts. It wasn’t surprising to me that we could find more stuff when it wasn’t raining. Wednesday was a little better and we actually got to see the sun some of the time.cim2

By Thursday the temperature warmed up,  the winds died down and it was perfect weather for hiking and discovering.

Discover we did. On Thursday we found 4 rock shelters that had stone flakes and tools in them. We also discovered 6 panels of rock art on a couple of boulders at the base of a cliff. This was somewhat unusual because most of the time rock art is found higher up on the canyon walls. I also discovered an electronic wildlife tracking collar and the skull of a Bighorn Sheep. cim3cim4





Friday morning we surveyed close to our campground and found a large site that had over 300 artifacts. It took most of the morning to flag and record all of the items. Only a few of the items were collected and most of the stuff was left right where we found it.cim14 cim13






Another “fun” thing we had to watch out for was the tarantulas. That’s right the big hairy spiders. It seems as if this is the mating season for them and they were unusually active during the day. At one spot we put our packs down and when we retrieved them later on we discovered a tarantula had crawled under one of them.cim9

All in all it was a great week and I got to see some territory that most people will never see. I still haven’t found my “holy grail”, a complete stone point so I guess I’ll just have to sign up for more of these next summer. This was the last of the PITs for this year so I need to get busy and find some other activity to pursue this winter.

Thanks for visiting.

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