Field Methods

North Indicator

True north (14 degrees declination) (USGS Quadrangle Map: Mud Creek, Colorado, 7.5 minute, 1979.


Grid rotated 2.3762 degrees counter clockwise around 'Dillard Gate Point': UTM Zone 12, 707583 mE/ 4135275 mN/ 1809.12 vertical datum. NAD83.

Mapping Techniques

Mapping at the Litte Mueller House site was conducted with a Topcon GTS-303 total station surveying instrument and data collector. Prior to general mapping, Datums 1 and 2, which oriented grid north for the Basketmaker Communities Project, were laid in with a Lietz one-minute transit. Due to this handheld method, grid north is rotated 2.3762 counterclockwise around a point established on the south gate to Jane Dillardメs driveway, north of 5MT10647. The primary datum (Datum 1) is 3m south-southeast of the Great Kiva at 5MT10647. The coordinates of this datum were set at 1400N, 500E, 100 above datum (meters); these numbers were large enough to ensure that the grid for this site could be extended and used for mapping and excavations at all sites within the Indian Camp Ranch Development without necessitating the use of negative coordinates or elevations on any site. Datum 2 (and backsite) was set 25 m northwest of the Great Kiva at 5MT10647 with coordinates of 1426.0909N, 465.5016E, 100.47 above datum. Datum 6 was set at the south end of the roomblock at site 5MT2032 on the ridge south of Jane Dillardメs house. The coordinates of Datum 6 were set at 1423.8648N, 203.1950E, 110.90 above datum. Datums 1, 2, and 6 are rebar stakes mounted in concrete, all three were left in place at the end of the Basketmaker Communities Project to facilitate future orientation to the projectメs grid. In all, 69 primary mapping datums were set in as part of the Basketmaker Communities Project. Three additional primary datums were set at 5MT10631. All other datums were set along roadsides and driveways to tie specific sites into the overall project grid.

Clearing of Vegetation

Crow Canyon staff parked along the adjacent gravel road and on a two track leading to the site during field work. No vegitation removal was required during excavation because 5MT10631 has been continuously under cultivation for decades. Backdirt associated with screening stations was piled beside excavation units and then used to backfill each unit when excavation was completed. All backfilled areas were graded to match surrounding topography. All temporary datums were pulled from the site. Only the Indian Camp Ranch site pole was left in place.


Back dirt from the appropriate screening station was used to backfill each unit when excavation was completed. Most backfilling across the site was done by hand but the pithouse was backfilled using heavy equipment. By the end of the 2016 field season, all excavation units were completely backfilled to match the preexisting topography as much as possible. The Indian Camp Ranch site pole was left in place. All equipment and debris from excavation were removed from the site.

Surface Indications

The surface signature of the site includes a scatter of gray ware ceramics and flaked lithics, a rock and burned adobe concentration at the center of the site. In 2011, 5600 square meters of the site was imaged with an RM15-D Resistance Meter by Bill Wolf of the Natural Resource Conservation Service to locate buried architecture. One pithouse was located.

Modern Ground Surface Collections

Artifacts were only collected from the surface of excavation units on 5MT10631.

Treatment of Disturbed Areas

5MT10631 has been under cultivation for at least the last twenty five years. Plow zone is generally 15 cm thick across the site. These deposits were excavated in 10 cm arbitrary levels in case they retained any stratigraphic integrity.

Areas Disturbed by Crow Canyon

Crow Canyon staff parked along the two track road accessing the site from the north during field work. Small vegetation and brush were removed from excavation areas. A 330 square m area over and north of the pithouse was bladed with heavy equipment to expose the outline of the pithouse. Backdirt associated with screening stations was piled beside excavation units to protect the modern ground surface. Heavy equipment was used to backfill each unit when excavation was completed. All backfilled areas were graded to match surrounding topography. All temporary datums were pulled from the site.

Areas and Percent Damaged by Vandals

There is overwhelming evidence that the old growth pinion and juniper forest across the site was chained sometime between the 1920s and 1970s. Since that time the site has been under cultivation and plowed annually.

Artifacts Not Collected

Post-occupation fill, construction deposits, and midden were screened through 1/4" mesh. Uncollected feature fill and deposits within 10 cm of structure floors were screened through 1/8" fill. Construction stones and large ground stone were analyzed in the field and reburied in place.

Types of Surfaces Recognized

Only prepared floors or native sediment floors were designated as structure surfaces. Upper use surfaces in structures were identified as separate strata and all artifacts associated with them point located. Surfaces were designated in extramural areas when associated with features and/or pit structures.

How Artifact-Surface Associations Were Defined

Artifacts found directly on a surface or resting on an object that was in direct contact with a surface were interpreted as surface-associated artifacts. Artifacts that rested within 10 cm above a structure surface were considered to be possibly associated with the surface. All surface maps show both the surface-associated artifacts and those that were possibly associated with the surface. They can be distinguished from one another by their provenience designation (PD) numbers.

Tree-Ring Sampling

All burned and unburned wood specimens that appeared to contain 10 or more rings were collected as tree-ring samples. These samples were collected and securely wrapped in cotton string as promptly as possible after exposure to prevent drying and destruction of the sample. Tree-ring samples were point-located (i.e., the locations were documented both horizontally and vertically).

Archaeomagnetic Sampling

Samples were collected from hearths and other burned areas by contractor Kay Barnett. Contexts were selected based on the intensity of their burning, clay content, and intensity of burning.

Archaeobotanical (Flotation) Sampling

Flotation samples were routinely collected from contexts containing burned organic material. These contexts included ashy midden deposits, hearth and firepit fills, ash deposits on floors, and any vegetal material in roof-fall strata. Standard samples were 1 liter, but smaller samples were collected where limited cultural deposit were encountered and larger samples (2 liter or 3 liter) samples were collected where high plant diversity contexts were encountered. Modern plant and animal disturbances were avoided when sampling. Individual samples, such as visible charred maize kernels, were recovered during excavating or screening, and sent in as a vegetal sample.

Pollen Sampling

Pollen samples were collected from various contexts. Modern ground control samples were collected to contextualize pollen variation in prehistoric contexts and to identify modern pollen contaminates. Control samples were collected from three environmental contexts: old growth pinion and juniper forest on Indian Camp Ranch lot 5, a chained and windrowed setting on lot 6, and a plowed field on lot 20. During excavation possible extramural surfaces and structure floors were sampled. Samples came from sealed contexts (pit features and floors). Some samples were collected in curation grade zip lock bags and treated with four drops of alcohol to suppress mold growth. Other samples were placed in manilla envelopes and sealed and allowed to dry naturally. Pollen grains were separated and concentrated from sediment samples at the Palynology Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, utilizing protocols developed and tested by Dr. Vaughn Bryant, Jr.

Other Sampling

Constant Volume Samples were collected from structure floors, pit features, and extramural spaces to identify micro-artifacts associated with various activities. These samples were standard 3 liter soils samples, water screened through 1/16ヤ mesh. Two constant volume samples were taken from every quarter structure or every two square meters of exposed floor. In extramural areas, two samples were taken from every 2x2 m extramural unit from fill in contact with the prehistoric ground surface. Constant volume samples were collected from pit features to determine associated activities.

Approximately 40 carbonized annual botanical samples from Basketmaker Communities Project excavations and testing were dated with Accelerated Mass Spectrometry (AMS). Little Mueller House produced 4 samples. AMS samples were selected from charred annual botanical remains. In 2011/2012 samples were processed by Arizona AMS Laboratory and calibrated at Crow Canyon by Lab Director Kari Schleher. All subsequent samples were processed and calibrated by Beta Analytic Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, Miami, Florida

Steven Schackley, Geoarchaeological XRF Lab, conducted spectrometry analysis of fifteen obsidian samples from the Basketmaker Communities project to determine their source.