Planned construction and supporting activities in the Canyonlands Needles District, Utah, would adversely affect approximately 57,000 m2 of cultural resources. This multiyear archeological project sought to determine the extent and nature of all cultural resources that would suffer negative impacts, to determine potential impacts, to identify research contexts for these resources, to evaluate their potential eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, to determine mitigation needs, and to conduct necessary data recovery. Field investigations included pedestrian survey, testing, excavation, and surface collection.
In and near the potential impact areas, 24 sites had been located by prior surveys, and 7 additional sites were located by surveys conducted for this project. Of these 31 sites, 25 would not have been affected adversely by construction, while the remaining 6 would have been. Data collection was conducted at those 7 sites in 1990 and 1991. All of the sites are recommended as potentially eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places because of their location within the Salt Creek Archeological District Expansion Area.
All of the sites have prehistoric components that consist of artifact scatters which have no evidence of structures. Variable amounts of colluvial soil deposition have occurred in the areas involved, and cultural materials are buried at depths of up to 2.2 m. Radiocarbon samples from these deposits yielded a broad span of dates, from 4060 B.P. to 610 B.P. Diagnostic artifacts, including Middle Archaic and Late Archaic projectile points and Pueblo II-III Anasazi ceramics, are consistent with those dates.
Research emphasized lithic material reduction and transport, as well as chronological changes in those processes. Additional information was recovered regarding the geomorphic sequence, the cultural sequence of the park, and changes in lithic sources and potential foraging areas.
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