Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Starter Home Volume 56 Number 6, November/December 2003
by Eric A. Powell

[image] The first Folsom structure yet discovered probably had a rock foundation, mud walls, and a great view. (Courtesy Mark Stiger) [LARGER IMAGE]

A jumble of rocks atop a Colorado mesa may be evidence for a 12,000-year-old house, probably built by the Folsom Paleoindian people, long assumed to have been nomadic hunter-gatherers. The find raises the prospect that the Folsom were more sedentary than previously supposed.

Western State College archaeologist Mark Stiger discovered the site in his own backyard, on property owned by the university. He says the number of Folsom spear points found atop the mesa made it a remarkable site even before excavation revealed the house, the first such Folsom structure to be discovered. The circular house would have been roughly 12 feet in diameter, with rocks serving as a foundation. An arrangement of poles probably held up a mud wall. "They might have used it as a winter house," says Stiger, who adds that "it would have had a great view."

© 2003 by the Archaeological Institute of America