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Report of Archaeological Research Conducted at Stix and Leaves Pueblo (5MT11555) Montezuma, County, Colorado

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Research report on excavation of the Stix and Leaves Pueblo (5MT11555), a large multi-roomblock site situated near the edge of Alkalai Canyon in Montezuma County, Colorado.
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... The earliest tree-ring dated pit structure from this area that can be identified with reasonable confidence as a kiva dates to AD 919-923. Evidence from this area for the co-occurrence of kivas and late pit houses at a single site-Stix and Leaves Pueblodates a bit later, to AD 950-974 (Bradley 2010). Spatial pairings of the two kinds of structures at this site are best interpreted as representing the staged construction, first, of a pit house and, then, of a nearby kiva. ...
... These structures are particularly well documented in the Kayenta area, but occur as well in the Upper Little Colorado and, as noted, Central Mesa Verde areas. The pit-structure database includes at least 17 of these late pithouses, dating between AD 900 and 1300 (Ahlstrom 1985;Bradley 2010;Firor et al. 1998;Hobler 1974;Robinson 2002;Schwendler 2008;Stone 2019). Kivas, on the other hand, reflect long-term trends in architectural design meant to augment the structures' role in the performance of ritual. ...
Method
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Has nearly a century's worth of dendroarchaeological research in the American Southwest resulted in the precise dating of a sufficient sample of prehistoric pit structures to allow rates of change in these features to be measured accurately? This study of dendroarchaeological method uses the evidence from the author's Database of Tree-Ring Dated Pit Structures Version 2.0 (available on ResearchGate) to address this question, with specific reference to the replacement of antechambers by ventilators on late seventh to early ninth century pithouses and the adoption of recesses for use on eleventh through thirteenth century kivas.
... The archaeological specimens used in this study were excavated from an early Pueblo II community in southwest Colorado, at the northern margin of the Southwest culture area. Approximately 10,000 rabbit specimens were identified from a pit structure known as ''Kiva H'' at the Stix and Leaves Pueblo (5MT11555) located west of the town of Cortez in Montezuma County, Colorado [4]. The precise location of the site is not given for protection of the site. ...
Article
Ancient DNA analysis was carried out on 20 archaeological rabbit remains from an early Pueblo II period site in Colorado (circa 1000 A.D.) to explore the possibility of obtaining accurate rabbit genus and species identifications. The presence of abundant rabbit remains at archaeological sites in the American Southwest indicates the importance of rabbit species in the subsistence economy and ritual activities of early aboriginal populations. The study of these remains is hindered by the difficulty of accurate identification due to the fragmentary nature of the bones and the lack of genus- and species-specific morphological features.A short cytochrome b gene fragment was amplified and sequenced to produce a genetic profile for each bone sample. At the genus level, the DNA identifications were consistent with those based on the analysis of mandible morphology for the majority of specimens. When compared to species-specific reference DNA sequences, Lepus americanus and Lepus californicus samples were easily identified. Identification of an unexpected L. americanus (snowshoe hare) from the remains provided new information concerning hunting ranges or exchange between groups in the region. Sylvilagus nuttallii and Sylvilagus audubonii, however, could not be confidently differentiated at this point due to the difficulty in obtaining accurate species-specific reference sequences.The inability to obtain such reference sequences can be a serious problem for DNA species identification of non-domestic animals that lack population-level genetic data and have few sequences available in GenBank. The lack of the DNA data increases the possibility that inappropriate reference sequences could be applied, resulting in false species identification even when authentic DNA is retrieved and amplified from ancient remains.
Method
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Explains the manner in which the Database of Tree-Ring Dated Pit Structures was created, its strengths, and its limitations
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