Early     8200-7000 BP (BP = Before Present)

Archaic structures have been found that date to the earliest Archaic and maybe to late Paleoindian periods. These earliest structures are round or oval, shallow, basin-shaped features about 4-5 meters in diameter. Some have postholes. The best-preserved structures have interior hearths, bell-shaped storage features, and other pits in the floors. The southern side of the houses seem to be constructed of rock and daub. Burned houses show that the superstructure incorporated plentiful brush and wood. One early house had an associated outside hearth, rock-lined storage feature, and a series of postholes in a U-shaped windbreak. We believe these structures were occupied throughout the winter season.

Middle    5500-7000 BP

Houses during this time incorporate considerable amounts of rock into the 4-5-meter-diameter structure. These house are built into very shallow soils between bedrock exposures. Interior fire pits and storage pits are found inside the houses. Some have associated outside fire pits and activity areas. We believe these structures were occupied throughout the winter season.


Late    4500-3000 BP

A wide range of structure types is represented in this time period. A cribbed-log structure covered with brush and daub has been excavated and reported. Daub structures are reported, as well as basin-shaped structures. Test excavations in the trash deposit of one village site showed almost two meters' accumulation of charcoal, ash, bone, and stone tool debris. We believe these structures were occupied throughout the winter season.

Post Piñon     3000 BP-historic

The archaeological evidence in the Upper Gunnison Basin shows very little occupation during this time. The few structures are ephemeral and probably not much more than windbreaks or sunscreens. These house were probably occupied only seasonally.

Features Through Time

Features in the Upper Gunnison Basin changed through these time periods, as to both type and distribution. The following chart shows these changes, which probably reflect environmental changes. 

Features in the Gunnison Basin