Mitigative archeological investigations were conducted in 1983 at the
southern end of the important Elk Creek site, 5GN204/205, within Curecanti
National Recreation Area prior to construction of a park apartment complex.
That portion of the site extended onto a rocky promontory overlooking Blue
Mesa Lake. Archeological activities undertaken at the site in 1982 focused
upon the western half of the promontory (Jones 1986), while the eastern
half of the point was investigated the following year. During the 1983
research, two small chipped-stone concentrations and an isolated projectile
point were identified and collected. Stylistic comparisons of several
diagnostic artifacts collected in 1983 suggest that an Early or Middle
Archaic component was represented.
The 1983 work at Elk Creek provided an opportunity to investigate the role
of natural erosion in the formation of the Curecanti archeological record.
A statistical analysis performed during the project confirmed an initial
field impression that the artifacts within one of the chipped-stone
concentrations were roughly size-sorted in the direction of the ground
surface slope. Based in part upon an analysis of local weather and
physical environmental data, that size distribution of artifacts is
believed to relate to a postdepositional restructuring of the material by
precipitation runoff in combination with deflation of the deposit by strong
western and southwestern winds. The study suggests that ongoing erosion by
water and wind operating under the particular environmental conditions of
the site area may dramatically affect contextual information given the
passage of sufficient time, an issue of importance to archeological
research elsewhere within Curecanti and other parks in semiarid settings.