Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Back Yard Archaeology

Well folks, the snow from the blizzard has pretty much melted off. Here's how things looked at the height of the snowfall.

Yes... that is a three foot fence you can see just peeking out on the left side of the photo. You can also see my "hail house" in the background.

The hail house performing its duties last summer
The snow was so wet and sticky that it didn't go through the wire mesh, it just stuck on top. I was a bit afraid that the weight might collapse the frame, so I got out and cleared it off. It was too thick and heavy to scrape it off with a broom, so I had to get under it and push upwards. I was a tad bit scared that the whole thing might collapse with me under it, but both the hail house and I emerged unscathed.

And in typical Colorado spring storm fashion, the snow has pretty much all melted off. The only patches left are areas in the shade like this one where the neighbor's snow removal guy piles all of the snow from her driveway.

Anyhow, we seem to be in a pattern of weekly snowstorms now, pretty typical of Colorado in the springtime. Thankfully most of them have only left us with a few inches. The weather was nice this morning so I decided to take advantage of the soft wet soil, and relative warmth to go out and pull a few dandelions before the next round arrives this afternoon.

Whenever I'm out working in my yard, I like to think about the people who lived on this land before I did. A mere 150-200 years ago this area was populated by the Navajo, Apache, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Ute people.

Ute encampment near modern day Florrisant, Colorado

While I know it's not likely to happen, I can't seem to shake the fantasy of finding an arrowhead or some other artifact left by the previous inhabitants.

So anyhow, I plunged my trusty weed wand into the soft soil to break the roots of one of the plants deemed undesirable by modern society, and when I pulled up the weed with a clump of soft dirt, I noticed something a bit unusual. At first I thought it was an oddly colored root, but as I cleared off the dirt I discovered this little guy.

Not exactly the kind of "Indian Artifact" that I'm always hoping for, but interesting nonetheless.
Poor fellow seems to have lost his pony somewhere along the line - I dug around a bit but didn't find anything. I did bring him inside and clean him up though.

I'm not sure how old it is - I would guess 1960's or 70's maybe? I wonder if toys like this are still considered socially acceptable. I would hope not.

Errrr... Ummm... never mind - I just found these and hundreds like them for sale on Amazon - sigh.

It sort of boggles my mind that our ancestors were able to convince themselves that this was "empty land" - as if the people already living here were somehow invisible, or less than human.

I can't help but wonder what future archaeologists will make of the things our culture leaves behind. If some of the predictions are to be believed, the world might be a completely altered place 150-200 years from now. Will there even be a civilization then? What will they think of the things they find?

Strange object of worship?
Well anyhow, the flakes are falling again and I have taxes to do...

Flakes beginning to fall.

So I'll leave you with the song that's been running through my head since this morning's discovery:

What do you think future people will think of us?


  1. Oh my goodness! Your snowfall looks huge! At least you don't have to feel guilty for not getting out to work in the garden on days like those.

    I'm sure future generations will think we were all quite primitive, in many, many ways.

    Hope the taxes go smoothly!

    1. The blizzard was quite exciting - especially since all that snow fell in less than 24 hours! I was really glad I didn't have to go anywhere!

      And I just hope that when future generations look back on us, it's not with the same "what were they thinking?" astonishment that we feel when we look at Easter Island! :-)

  2. Too much snow for me at this time of year! Spring to me means there can be a random snowfall, but not weekly ones. I guess it's whatever you're used to.

    I love finding surprises like your plastic toy. However, most every thing I find can be traced to within the last ten years. However, my father had a pretty good arrowhead collection, including an impressive ax head, that he found while gardening.

    1. Wow! An actual ax head! That's pretty cool. Although, truth is I'm not entirely sure I'd recognize a stone ax head if I came upon one in the ground. But still, to find that sort of stuff while gardening is pretty neat.

  3. I think snow is so beautiful but the beauty wears off rather quickly especially if one has to scoop. Here in Kansas we have had a really light year. My only sibling lives near Colorado Springs so I follow his snow fall a bit. He hates cold weather so, I guess it's not so much "following" as much as "hearing him gripe" about it.

    Love your pictures and captions. Yes, the iphone is an object of least to many.

    It is hard to think of what our world might look like in 200 years. Technology has ramped up the speed of change sometimes for the better, I guess but certainly not true in all cases.

    1. We had really mild weather in February and through the early part of March, so I guess we're "paying the piper" now. While spring snow does take some getting used to, it's much less horrible than snow in December or January because it generally melts off quickly. And I've gotta say the Colorado Springs is probably not the ideal location for a person who hates cold weather!

      Anyhow, I always think it's funny that when archaeologists find something that they can't explain, they assume it's a religious object. But there's so much about our culture that would seem downright inexplicable to a complete outsider - I can't help but think they'd assume we had a whole variety of really weird religious traditions! :-)

  4. I was nervous for you when you said you went into the hail house to get rid of the snow--sort of a "what were you thinking? It could collapse on you!" train of thought--glad you came out unscathed.

    I think you had more snow than we did this past winter. Not complaining. ;)

    You want to find arrowheads--I want to know how to build a teepee (or a wigwam, which, from my geek-trips to the museums locally, was more common in my area). I have a weird fascination with wanting to know how to build sturdy shelters out of local materials.

    1. Well... the frame of the hail house is made from pretty thick galvanized steel, so I wasn't really concerned about it pancaking. I figured if it was gonna come down it would more likely do what it did while I was trying to put it up and lay down sideways (or, I guess lengthwise would be a better description).

      And given the fact that there are support posts on the door end driven several feet into the ground, if it was gonna lay down it would probably go the other way, where it would get caught by the fence and juniper tree instead of crashing all the way to the ground. Plus - I cleared off as much as I could before I went under, and I started from one end and worked my way so I was standing under a cleared section as I worked my way along.

      Anyhow... spring is our big snow season here - it tends to take newcomers off guard, but March is the snowiest month followed by April. I was a bit amused by a piece in the local paper a month or two ago written by some east coast transplant who had only been here a few months talking about how Coloradans are snow wimps and that our snow is so "light and fluffy" that it hardly counts.

      I almost posted a snarky comment telling them that they might want to wait until they've actually been through snow season before making any such proclamations, but ultimately I decided to keep my mouth shut. I do admit though, I was chuckling a bit thinking of that person trying to dig their car out of several feet of concrete-like snow!

      And I'm totally with you in geek-land where tee-pees and wigwams are concerned. I would LOVE to build either one! :-)

  5. We live in an old (1870s?) house. I always hoped to find something interesting while digging in the garden. What we did find was lots of broken crockery and bones. I was a little concerned until a neighbour told me that the old man who lived here before us didn't waste a thing - and why buy the blood and bone mix from the garden centre when you could just chuck the bones from your roast meat straight on the garden?!

    1. Ha! Well, that's a relief - at least he wasn't carving up the neighbors and burying them in the garden! My Ex was into collecting things (all sorts of things) but one of his favorite pass times was to break into downtown construction sites on the weekends and excavate in the piles of dirt - he found some very interesting things - mostly old bottles. Some of them were quite pretty though, made from cobalt blue glass - I think those were for medical stuff. So who knows, maybe you'll find some pretty bottles one day!

    2. We have found a few bottles and an old clay (tobacco) pipe too. Once we found a tooth! I don't dig very much now; I wouldn't want to find the jaw that that tooth came from!!

    3. Wait... a tooth? OK now you've got me thinking about dismembered neighbors again...

  6. future people will think we had serious issues of short-term memories, due to all the selfies they will find in our smartphones

    1. Ha! Of course you're assuming they'll be able to figure out how to turn them on. I was thinking perhaps they'd think those phones were some sort of strange bricks or something!


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