Field Methods

North Indicator

True north, 14 degree declination (USGS Quadrangle Map: Woods Canyon, Colorado, 7.5 minute, 1965, photo-inspected in 1979)


Grid north is 25.35 degrees east of true north

Mapping Techniques

The cultural features depicted on plan maps of this site were defined in 1993 using a combination of sketch-mapping and total station survey (see "The Archaeology of Woods Canyon Pueblo," Appendix A). The crew that conducted this work was directed by William Lipe, and was assisted by Jeffrey Kelley, Jason Sherman, and participants in our Adult Research Program. At this time, ninety-four loose, fragmentary construction beams were collected from the surface of the rim complex, and the talus top and talus slopes below it. Portions of these beams were submitted to the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research for dating (see "Tree-ring Dating Results"). The state site form for Woods Canyon Pueblo was completed by William Lipe and Richard Wilshusen in the spring of 1994. In the summer of 1994, Crow Canyon center crews placed white plastic targets on mapped-in control points around the periphery of the site, and aerial photos were subsequently taken by Rocky Mountain Aerial Surveys, of Englewood, Colorado. During the winter of 1994-1995, a topographic map was made from these aerial photographs by Carrera and Associates of Englewood, Colorado. Both aerial photography and topographic map creation were part of the Montezuma County Regional Survey and Preservation Program, funded by a grant from the State HIstorical Fund of the Colorado Historical Society to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. In August, and September, 1995, Neal Morris integrated the cultural features data from Lipe's 1993 survey with the topographic data produced by Carrera and Associates to produce the base map from which all plan maps in this report were generated.

Clearing of Vegetation

Vegetation, including sagebrush, rabbitbrush, wolfberry, and grasses, was cleared only in areas where excavation occurred. When the trail was built, a few small limbs were removed from pinyon and juniper trees, but entire trees were not removed.


Excavation pits and excavated structures were backfilled according to Bureau of Land Management stipulations and Crow Canyon policy. Landscaping fabric was used in the bottom of excavation units to mark the extent of Crow Canyon's excavations. The pits and structures were then filled with sediment (backdirt) and rocks. All Crow Canyon equipment was removed from the site.

Surface Indications

Surface remains at the site consist of standing structures and walls, rubble mounds that denote roomblocks and towers, kiva depressions, artifact scatters that indicate the locations of midden areas, a relatively flat, open area that indicates a possible plaza, multiple checkdams, and petroglyphs

Modern Ground Surface Collections

Unburned prehistoric wood beams on the modern ground surface were collected as part of the 1993 mapping project and sent to the Tree-Ring Laboratory, Tucson, for analysis

Treatment of Disturbed Areas

The few looter's pits observed in the rim complex and in the canyon bottom were not backfilled

Areas Disturbed by Crow Canyon

Vegetation was removed from excavation areas. Sheets of plastic were placed on the ground under screening stations to "catch" backdirt as it passed through the screens. After excavation, the backdirt, along with stones that were removed during excavation, was redeposited in the units and the plastic ground cover was removed. Excess backdirt was scattered over a large area. Portable wooden boxes were placed near excavation areas to store field equipment. All storage boxes and equipment were removed at the end of the project. Fourteen mapping datums, including the primary datum, were left in place and are marked by rebar with a yellow plastic cap (see Database Map 333). The main bathroom facilities were portable toilets located 200 m from the north edge of the site, at the Shell CO2 plant. Two small pit toilets were dug closer to the site and used on a limited basis. One of the pit toilets was located southeast of the site, and the other was located west of the site. Both were dug into sterile deposits and backfilled at the end of the project. A loop trail was created at the beginning of the project to accommodate foot traffic at the site. Secondary paths were also established to get to and from the excavation areas. Access into the canyon was obtained by placing two ladders at the base of the cliff. One ladder was located west of the site, near a side drainage. The second ladder was located east of site. Both ladders were anchored to metal T-posts that were permanently set into the ground or into a crevice in the cliff face. Trail building also necessitated the removal of a small number of limbs from pinyon and juniper trees and the construction of steps and retaining walls on the talus slope using dead wood, small pieces of lumber, and rebar. At the end of the project, all trail markers were removed and dead wood was placed on the trails to discourage use. Most of the steps and retaining walls along the trails were removed; however, some were left in place as erosion-control devices. The condition of the trails was monitored from 1996 through 2001 by the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center under the direction of Lew Matis.

Areas and Percent Damaged by Vandals

Natural erosion has significantly disturbed the buildings and middens on the steep slopes. Cattle have also adversely impacted the site. Trails created by cows are abundant and contribute to the instability of the slopes. Cattle have also taken shelter at the base of the cliff and probably have brushed or rubbed against the standing walls, contributing to their deterioration. Some undocumented digging has occurred in buildings in the rim complex and at the base of the cliff, as well as in midden areas at the bottom of the canyon. Most of this undocumented digging appeared to have occurred 10 or more years before Crow Canyon began its investigations; however, more-recent digging appears to have occurred in the canyon bottom (Lipe 1995*2:7).

Artifacts Not Collected

Architectural stones such as building blocks, ventilator cover slabs, hatchway covers, and roofing slabs were not collected

Types of Surfaces Recognized

Constructed (prepared) and use surfaces. During excavation, the discovery of a feature did not result in the designation of an associated surface unless a surface was actually observed. However, surface numbers were retroactively assigned in these cases to conform to Crow Canyon protocol current as of 2002 (that is, surface numbers were assigned to surfaces that were not recognizable in the field but that had to have existed as the horizontal plane on or in which associated features were constructed).

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 5 cm above a 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

Pieces of burned and unburned wood that appeared to contain 15 or more rings were collected as tree-ring samples. These samples were wrapped in cotton string as promptly as possible to prevent drying and deterioration. The horizontal and vertical locations of tree-ring samples were mapped, and point-location (PL) numbers were assigned. Core samples were taken from a series of intact roof beams in the rim complex. Rex Adams of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Tucson, collected the samples using a 1/2-inch dendroarchaeological holesaw. All holes were plugged with cork.

Archaeomagnetic Sampling

Archaeomagnetic samples were taken from two hearths that had been intensely burned. Several other hearths were examined, but samples were not taken, because of the deteriorated condition of the rims. All samples were collected by Kristin Kuckelman, a staff archaeologist trained in archaeomagnetic sampling techniques.

Archaeobotanical (Flotation) Sampling

Flotation samples were collected from contexts containing burned organic matter, such as midden deposits, hearths, and ash deposits on kiva floors. Some samples were collected during excavation; other samples were collected from stratigraphic profiles after excavation was complete. Most samples were 1 liter in volume; however, smaller samples were collected when less than 1 liter of sediment was available. Larger flotation samples (2 liters) were collected from possible garden areas, so that phytolith analysis could be conducted with the sediment that was not floated.

Pollen Sampling

Pollen samples were collected from possible garden areas and from kiva floors. Samples from possible garden areas were taken from stratigraphic profiles after the profiles were cleaned. Samples from floors usually came from sealed contexts (beneath rocks or artifacts that rested on floors). All samples were placed in whirl pacs and sealed. Samples collected from wet sediment were not selected for analysis. Modern "pinch" samples were collected from different areas of the site for comparative purposes.

Other Sampling

Flotation samples for phytolith analysis (see Flotation Sampling)