The Dye Clan
  • Overview
  • EveryTrail Guide
  • Museum
  • TR: Jun 2011

Anasazi Indian State Park

Anasazi Indian State Park.

Anasazi Indian State Park and Museum in Boulder, UT is the site of the Coombs Site: a 12th Century Puebloan Village.

Museum

Anasazi Indian State Park
Anasazi Indian State Park
Anasazi Indian State Park
Anasazi Indian State Park
Anasazi Indian State Park

Trip Report: June 18, 2011

Anasazi Indian State Park

Welcome to Boulder: Visitor Information

Anasazi Indian State Park

Historic Boulder: Drawn to Abundance

Anasazi Indian State Park

The Coombs Site: A 12th Century Puebloan Village

Anasazi Indian State Park

This area has been home to many people, including the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) and Fremont cultures, who coexisted in this region between A.D. 700 and 1300.

There is a prehistoric village behind the museum, which was build around A.D. 1160. It was occupied for about 75 years by a large group of people, who built complex stone masonry pueblos. Since 1927, excavations at this site have uncovered two large pueblo room blocks and many pithouse structures.

Anasazi State Park Museum offers a self guided tour of the ruins. The museum exhibits artifacts recovered from the site. A gift shop, picnic ground, and restroom facilities are also available.

The park is open daily from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. in the summer and from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. in the winter, excluding New Year?s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The Ancestral Puebloans lived and imigrated within a large area around the Four Corners region.

Did you know?
This site is one of the most significant archaeological sites in south-central Utah.

Stories on the Stone: What Do They Mean?

Anasazi Indian State Park

Rock art images often resemble humans, animals, or are abstract in design. They may hold specific meanings or tell a story. Interpretation of rock art varies from culture to culture, and can be specific to the time and location of the images. By watching the interactions of light and shadow, images could also be used to mark the passage of time, which helped guide the planting and harvesting of crops.

Did you know?
Rock art can be dated through its association with datable archaeological sites and artifacts in the vicinity. Some rock art in this area is known to date to as early as the Archaic Period (7,000 ? 2,000 years ago).

Food for Thought: What Did They Eat?

Anasazi Indian State Park

Notice the vegetation around you. This area is rich in natural resources, which supported the prehistoric cultures that lived here. Many plants, including elderberry, pinyon pine, prickly pear cactus, ricegrass, sunflower, and various grasses were gathered and used for food, medicine, and building materials. Mormon tea, juniper berries, and sagebrush also may have been used for medicinal purposes.

One of the most important foods of the Ancestral Puebloan diet was maize (corn). This was supplemented by the cultivation of beans, squash, and gourds. People also hunted wild game, such as cottontail, jackrabbit, and mule deer.

This small garden shows some typical foods grown, although the residents of this village probably planted their crops closer to water, to take advantage of the moisture available.

Have you ever eaten a cattail?
The pollen can be used to thicken soups or can be combined with flour to make pancakes, biscuits, or breads. The roots can be peeled and eaten raw or cooked, and the young shoots can be steamed or boiled. The immature flowers can be eaten like vegetables.

Why Live Here? The Story of the Coombs Village

Anasazi Indian State Park

We believe this site was occupied for about 75 years during the twelfth century. Over 100 structures have been identified through excavations here, including residential building, storage units, below ground pithouses, and at least one remade (shade structure).

The people that lived here made unique varieties of pottery. The presence of distinctive artifacts such as turquoise and shell indicates the presence of an extensive trade network with neighboring groups.

Why choose this site? It may have been because of the strategic location, higher elevation, or proximity to natural resources like water or wild plants. Perhaps another reason is the incredible view!

Did you know?
Archaeological evidence indicated that around A.D. 1235, the residents of the Coombs Site were no longer present here. Contemporary Puebloan tribes have explained this phenomenon as an intentional migration of their ancestors. This is an example of how oral tradition and archaeology can work together.

The Progression of a Pueblo: A.D. 1160 to Present

Anasazi Indian State Park

You are looking over what was once a multi-room pueblo, or group of houses. This began as three separate structures that were later joined as more rooms were added, resulting in a ?U? shaped pueblo. Half of the rooms were used for living quarters for an extended family, or clan, while the remaining structures were likely used for storage.

The area enclosed by the three adjoining structures provided a courtyard or plaza where daily activities such as grinding maize, scraping hides, drying meat, making pottery, weaving, and children?s games might have taken place. Can you imagine what the sounds and smells of this village were like?

A Prehistoric Home: Can you imagine living Here?

Anasazi Indian State Park

From here you can see both residential and storage rooms arranged in an ?L? shape. The pueblo was constructed in four phases, during which rooms were added or subdivided to bring the pueblo to is maximum size. The living quarters are identified by their large size and the presence of fire pits in the center. In contrast, the storage rooms are smaller, lack fire pits, and do not have a prepared floor.

Many pottery fragments, flaked stone debris, animal bones, and grinding tools were found in this room block during excavations, indicating use as a residential complex. What other types of artifacts might you expect in this structure?

Did you know?
Many unusual artifacts were recovered from this village site. Some interpret these as gaming pieces, possibly used by children. Others believe that they may have been worn as necklaces or earrings. What do you think?

Anasazi Indian State Park
Anasazi Indian State Park

Pithouse: Why live underground?

Anasazi Indian State Park

Construction of a pithouse began by digging a pit, over which a roof of poles, brush, and mud was added. Unlike other prehistoric villages, both pithouses and pueblo room block at the Coombs Site were lived in at the same time.

Pithouses are better insulated that surface structures. This may explain their presence here at a late period in prehistory, when most Ancestral Puebloans were uccupying surface pueblo structures. At an elevation of 6,700 feet, it would have been warmer and required less energy to heat than a surface structures. Likewise, it would have been cooler in the summer.

Pithouses, like the one here, are located along the southern slope of the Coombs Site, where deep sand make digging easier. Notice the fire pit in the center of the floor and the earthen roof construction. The entryway of the structure was by a latter through a hole in the center of the roof.

Did you know?
To keep the room from filling with smoke, a small ventilator shaft was added. Can you see it?

Anasazi Indian State Park
Anasazi Indian State Park

800 Years Ago: What was life like?

Anasazi Indian State Park

How do we know? What we know about the daily activities of the culture is gathered from archaeological evidence and ethnographic studies.

Archaeology is the study of the material remains of cultures, through the excavation, recording, and analysis of archaeological sites. For example, the charred remains of reads, plants, and animal bones can tell us what types of food the people ate. Concentrations of similar artifacts, such as flaked stone debris, can indicate special use areas within a site, such as the location for stone tool manufacturing.

Ethnography is the first hand study of a culture through direct consultation. Information about Southwestern Native American groups has been obtained through detailed documentation of modern and historical tribal groups. Archaeologists can use ethnographic information to identify the uses for artifacts and structures, or to help answer questions about prehistoric life.

Did you know?
To date, over 162,000 artifacts have been recovered during excavations at this site.

Anasazi Indian State Park

Snapshot in Time: A Replica

Anasazi Indian State Park

Between A.D. 700 and 1000, Ancestral Puebloans throughout the Southwest began to construct above ground structures. Local materials, such as sandstone and basalt rock, were used to build adobe or stone masonry walls. This replica of a pueblo room block was built with natural materials and depicts three residential rooms (to your right) and three food storage rooms (to your left).

You may enter the rooms, but please stay off the roof. While inside, notice the remodeled doorway that has been sealed and the solid roof construction. Also, the entry ways for the storage rooms are located near the top of the wall to keep animals out.

You can see the irregular jacal (pronounced ha-call) and more patterned Kayenta style masonry. This is typical of Puebloan sites in this area. Both styles of walls rely on the use of large amounts of mortar to stand, unlike those seen in other well known sites like Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon.

Did you know?
Scientists can study the growth rings on small pieces of wood found in the walls or roofs to determine when it was built. Dendrochronology is the science of tree ring dating.

Anasazi Indian State Park
Anasazi Indian State Park
Anasazi Indian State Park