National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program
Weekly Highlight: Threemile Gulch
Park County, Colorado

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


The Threemile Gulch Prehistoric Archaeological District in Colorado is historically important due to the minimally disturbed and distinctive record of prehistoric human settlement found here. This area was repeatedly reoccupied from Late Paleoindian (a term for the first peoples who entered and inhabited North and South America during the final glacial episodes of the Ice Age) through the Late Prehistoric periods, also called the Pre-Contact period. Special techniques were used to make petrified wood useful for stone tool manufacture. Numerous quarry sites of the archaic peoples, for example, appear as broken up petrified wood logs or dug-out pits surrounded by hundreds of pieces of petrified wood debris. The most distinctive site types within the district are the petrified wood quarries. Archeologists have long used the distribution of distinctive raw materials to trace the movements of human populations in prehistory. Here an association was made between the lithic raw material and ethnic identity of the mountain-dwelling hunters and gatherers who worked the quarry sites in seasonal cycles, and those of another location, suggesting that this group may have moved into the area from the Palmer Divide area of Colorado.

To see more photographs of this property go to our photostream on Flickr.

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