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Communal hunting along the Continental Divide of Northern Colorado: Results from the Olson game drive (5BL147), USA

Quaternary International
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2013.01.016
  • Medicine


Abstract The Olson site (5BL147) is a multi-component rock walled game drive located in the James Peak wilderness area of Northern Colorado, USA. It is one part of a much larger game drive complex located at Rollins Pass, situated above modern tree limit and along the Continental Divide, at approximately 3600 m above sea level. Byron Olson and James Benedict conducted work at the site in the late 1960s. We combined their efforts with our recent field and lab work to produce a synthetic overview of the site. At least 45 blinds and 1307 m of rock walls are present, to funnel game upslope to waiting hunters. Radiocarbon and lichenometric dates suggest occupations spanning the last 3200 years, with diagnostic tools suggesting even older use. Lithic analysis of the debitage and tools, from both excavated (blinds) and surface contexts (intercept and processing areas), provides possible scenarios for the use of the site. Large game drives of the Colorado alpine zone represent accumulated landscapes of artifacts and features, the byproduct of many years of construction, use, and re-use, and built for a variety of reasons.

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