Danny Boone, Jeff Pangburn, and MaryAnn Paul took me to the Little Box Canyon Tipi Ring
Site. This multiple ring site is divided into two habitation loci. The first consists of a single tipi
ring that is quite substantial and contains an abundance of very fine quality and brigthly colored
chert flakes and tools (see below). The second locus that was not originally recognized as a tipi
locus, has six rings siutated between large and small ring middens.
LA 43496--Little Box Canyon Tipi Ring Site
A spring is situated in the adjacent arroyo to the south of the site.
This explains why the site is located where it is within this canyon.
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This isolated tipi ring is situated at the north end of the site. It is especially large and incorporates large boulders. Whether
boulder size is a factor of availability, wind strength, time period, or culture group is not known--perhaps all four factors
account for differences. One possiblities is that this especially large and substantial ring is a special-use ring used for
ceremonies, such as the puberty ceremony. This would account for its isolated location, as would use of the site during a
seperate occupational episode. This ring overlies a prehistoric component and is situated on a low rise. This is the ring that was
recorded by Danny Boone, the others were not known until our recent visit.
Several ring middens are present on this site and nearby.
According to Danny Boone who found the site ring middens are
dense throughout this small valley. This ring midden is raised
above the ground surface. MaryAnn is standing in the middle,
Danny on the rim, and Jeff on the ground surface below.
This ring midden is much smaller than many of the
others, and is relatively flush with the surface.
Artifact analysis has only just begun, with much more work required, including in-field documentation. While there are many artifacts at
this site, most relate to the underlying prehistoric occupations making separating the target component challenging. But just like on other
sites of this period, there is often a difference in flaking technique or technological organization that can be discerned. On relatively
recent sites the flaked material has a bright luster and sharp edges and so can be differentiated from earlier material. Around the 1400s or
1500s this stops being true and from this time and earlier the patenation or weathering looks like prehistoric material.
Differences in material type can also be useful in differentiating artifacts from different periods. These artifacts shown below are all of
very fine quality, suggesting that they might be from non-local sources. Both Archaic and protohistoric people traveled long distances and
in the process obtained quality material that could be used to craft their finely retouced tools, such as bifaces, that could be used over
and over again and carried with them from place to place.
These in particular look very much like chert found that comes from the Alibates quarry north of Amarillo, Texas. Samples were collected
and subjected to a black light but did not fluoresce, suggesting that they might not be from that location or that they are but from a
stratum or section that does not flouresce. Some samples collected from that quarry by Martin Stein did not flouresce either so we really
do not have an answer to our question. Until quality local sources are found this will remain a question, although a different more
powerful blacklight will be tried.
High quality pink chert uniface
made on a interior bifacial
Banded cream and brown (washed out
in photo) fine-grained chert flake that
is similar specimens from Alibates. NOt
all are pink, red, and purple.
These three interior, noncortial flake specimens look like classic Alibates quarry material.