Field Methods

North Indicator

True north (14 degree declination)(USGS Quadrangle Map: Battle Rock, Colorado, 7.5 minute, 1979)


Grid aligned 30 degrees east of north; was oriented to the south butte face to more closely coincide with the orientation of structures

Mapping Techniques

An east-west grid baseline was established parallel to the south face of the butte. Three permanent datum rebar were set in concrete along that line (100N 100E, 100N 134E, 100N 162E). From 100N 100E, a rebar was set in at the west end of the butte at 108N 96E, and from that datum, rebar was set in at 136N 86E, and at 136N 108E, both north of the butte. These datums are both vertical and horizontal datums. During the years 1990 through 1992, all mapping was done with a transit. Mapping that was undertaken during those years included mapping of site boundaries, rubble mounds, possible kiva depressions, visible midden areas, the outline of the butte at modern ground surface, major boulders, and visible walls. Elevations for the topographic map were also taken with the transit, and excavation units set in during those years were shot in with the transit. In 1993 and 1994, mapping was done with a GTS-303 total station surveying instrument, using the same datums established with the transit.

Clearing of Vegetation

In accordance with stipulations from the Bureau of Land Management, vegetation was removed only in areas to be excavated. Vegetation removed included cactus, grass, and small shrubs. No trees were 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 protect surfaces and to mark the extent of Crow Canyon's excavations. The pits and structures were then filled with layers of dirt and rocks as nearly as possible to the original ground contours. Native seeds as stipulated by the Bureau of Land Management were sown in excavated areas to provide ground cover for erosion control and stabilization. All Crow Canyon equipment and debris was removed from the site when fieldwork ended in November 1994.

Surface Indications

Masonry rooms were indicated by rubble mounds or rock concentrations. Some kivas were indicated by shallow depressions, some by the absence of rubble, and for some kivas there were no indications.Towers were indicated by a circular rubble mound or by tall standing walls. Site-enclosing walls were indicated by low masonry walls around the periphery of the site. A butte-top structure was indicated by a preserved, log-supported floor and rubble on the butte. Middens were indicated by relatively greater artifact density on modern ground surface.

Modern Ground Surface Collections

No general surface collection was made. Artifacts were collected from modern ground surface only in excavation units.

Treatment of Disturbed Areas

When Crow Canyon's field work began at Castle Rock Pueblo, few disturbed areas were visible. An old pothole was observed west of Structure 102.

Areas Disturbed by Crow Canyon

Crow Canyon staff and participants were involved in archaeological excavations at the site for five years. Crow Canyon's laboratory trailer and the portable toilet were located outside the site boundaries--the trailer was parked beyond the site boundaries to the southwest, and the portable toilet was located near the parking area on the road. During Crow Canyon's excavations, vegetation was cleared from areas to be excavated (including primarily prickly pear cactus, grasses, and sagebrush), paths were created by excavators and site visitors; screening stations were created on plastic sheeting and subsequently accumulated backdirt (often the construction of these stations involved using rocks from excavations to create retaining walls for the containment of backdirt), and rocks from excavations were usually neatly stacked near excavation units. In addition, three permanent mapping datums were set in concrete in an east-west line south of the butte. As the excavation of test pits and structures was completed, rocks and backdirt from the appropriate screening station were used for backfilling. At the termination of the project in 1994, all excavations had been backfilled to match preexisting topography as much as possible. Areas disturbed by excavation were reseeded in accordance with Crow Canyon's reclamation agreement with the Bureau of Land Management. Crow Canyon's facilities, equipment, and debris were removed from the site when excavation ended.

Areas and Percent Damaged by Vandals

When Crow Canyon began excavations at the site, few artifacts were visible on the modern ground surface. Apparently the site's location near a road and a popular hiking trail had resulted in extensive collection of surface artifacts by the general public. A sizable area of disturbance thought to be a bulldozer cut related to mineral prospecting is located on the talus slope north of the butte (Kleidon 1999*1) at the extreme northeast edge of the site, south and southeast of Structure 406. In addition, a pothole was noted and mapped 2 m west of Structure 102. Local residents mentioned that burials were being excavated 20 to 30 years ago. Also mentioned was the intentional destruction of Structure 307/310 on the ledge midway up the north face of the butte (Kleidon 1999*1).

Artifacts Not Collected

All artifacts caught by 1/4-inch-mesh screen were collected. Architectural rocks such as building blocks, ventilator cover slabs, hatchway covers, and so forth were not collected. Architectural stones such as building blocks, ventilator cover slabs, hatchway covers, and so forth were not collected. In situ deflector slabs were documented as features and left in place.

Types of Surfaces Recognized

Prepared (constructed) floors; outdoor (extramural) use surfaces

How Artifact-Surface Associations Were Defined

Artifacts were inferred to be associated with a surface if they contacted the surface or rested on an object that contacted the surface. Artifacts were inferred to be possibly associated with a surface if they were within 5 cm of the surface (if an artifact was within 5 cm of a surface, the elevation of the artifact relative to the surface was recorded).

Tree-Ring Sampling

All burned and unburned wood specimens that appeared to contain 20 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

Features that were sufficiently burned were sampled for archaeomagnetic dating. The sediment used to line hearths at this site is not ideal for this type of sampling, as it is very sandy, contains a small amount of poor-quality clay, and is often gravelly. Also, the best-constructed and best-preserved hearths on the site are often kiva hearths, and usually these were dug into bedrock and only minimally coated with adobe.

Archaeobotanical (Flotation) Sampling

Flotation samples were routinely collected from contexts containing burned organic material. These contexts included ashy midden deposits, hearth fills, ash deposits on kiva floors, and burned roof fall strata. Standard samples were 1 liter, but smaller samples were collected where a smaller deposit of burned material was encountered, and multiple samples were generally collected from hearths. Modern plant and animal disturbances were avoided when sampling.

Pollen Sampling

Pollen samples were collected from contexts thought most likely to yield information about structure use. Thus, samples were collected from sealed contexts on floors, i.e., beneath rocks that were resting on floors or kiva bench surfaces. Pollen washes were done on the few complete vessels that were recovered.

Other Sampling

The ash from several hearths was sampled for a special study on fuelwood type (Pierce et al. 1998*1)

Sediment column samples were taken from selected kiva stratigraphic profiles in order to analyze the depositional sequence within the structure (Kilby 1998*1). Sediment samples were also collected from complete vessels that contained sediment.