Field Methods

North Indicator

True north (14 degree declination) USGS Quadrangle Map: Yellow Jacket, Colorado, 7.5 minute, 1965


Grid is aligned to true north

Mapping Techniques

All mapping at Yellow Jacket was done with a GTS-303 total station surveying instrument and data collector. R. R. Lightfoot and K. A. Kuckelman set in the primary datums, the baseline (which is oriented north-south), and the initial excavation units; this original grid set-up work was carried out in April 1995. The north-south baseline was established from a USGS benchmark at the intersection of the main north-south fenceline on the site. That is, the fenceline itself is roughly (although not precisely) the north-south baseline. The benchmark was arbitrarily designated grid point 1000N 1000E, and 100 m elevation. Mapping Datum 1 (972.41N 997.33E) was set in on a nearby high point, which was near the north end of the Block 200 rubble mound. From Mapping Datum 1, datums 2 through 4 were shot in. Datum 2 (999.96N 1089.50E) was northeast of Datum 1, and was along the fence line that crossed the benchmark east-west. This datum was used to locate the line of this fence for the site map, but was not used for any other purpose. Datum 3 (1111N 1002E) was a mapping point north of Datum 1, and was along the north-south fenceline. Datum 4 (1244N 1002E) was even farther north of Datum 1, and was on the rubble mound in Block 900. Multiple datums were then shot in from Datum 4--Datum 5 (1269N. 1058E), on the rubble mound in Block 1000; Datum 6 (1279.01N 1093.30E) in Block 1100; and Datum 7 (1205. 96N 1153.11E) in the great tower complex. Rebar was used to mark datums 1, 3, 4, and 7. Excavation units, architectural features, and pothunting depressions were also shot in from these main datums and additional temporary datums. For example, temporary datums were set up along the canyon rim to facilitate the mapping of architectural features and the setting in of excavation units on the talus slope below the canyon rim. See the AutoCAD files, field mapping notes, and sketch maps for additional details.

Clearing of Vegetation

Grasses and other small plants were removed in excavated areas. Shrubs were trimmed during placement and removal of the equipment trailer, during construction of the 1000-ft-long section of fence around the northeast portion of the site, and during development of access trails around the site. No trees were removed or damaged during Crow Canyon's research at the site.


Excavation pits and excavated structures were backfilled according to Archaeological Conservancy stipulations and Crow Canyon policy. Landscaping fabric was used in the bottom of excavation units to protect prepared surfaces and to mark the extent of Crow Canyon's excavations. The pits and structures were then filled with layers of dirt and rocks as nearly as possible to the original ground contours. All Crow Canyon equipment and debris was removed from the site when fieldwork ended in October 1997.

Surface Indications

Roomblocks were indicated by linear or rectangular rubble mounds. Towers were indicated by circular rubble mounds. Kivas were indicated by depressions, either on modern ground surface or within rubble mounds. Middens were indicated by relatively more surface artifacts, and in some areas, by stained sediment. Extramural walls were indicated by linear rubble. A north-south swale through the center of the site could indicate a road segment associated with the great kiva and possible Chacoan great house. Other surface indications are petroglyphs, extramural features, and a north-south trending berm at the west end of a large natural depression in the southwestern portion of the site.

Modern Ground Surface Collections

No general surface collection of artifacts--the only artifacts collected were those within excavation units.

Treatment of Disturbed Areas

Walls that had been exposed by nonprofessional excavators were recorded and photographed. Potholes that predated Crow Canyon's work at the site were left as-is.

Areas Disturbed by Crow Canyon

Grasses and other small vegetation were removed from excavation areas--no trees and few shrubs were disturbed. Screening stations were established in numerous areas throughout the site; plastic sheeting was used to protect modern ground surface at each of

Areas and Percent Damaged by Vandals

The nature and extent of disturbance to the portion of the site owned by The Archaeological Conservancy is reported in a management and protection plan written by Kuckelman and Glowacki (1995*1) as part of Crow Canyon's research at the site. The site has

Artifacts Not Collected

All artifacts caught by 1/4-inch-mesh screen were collected. Architectural rocks such as building blocks, ventilator cover slabs, hatchway covers, and so forth were not collected.

Types of Surfaces Recognized

Prepared (constructed) floors; outdoor (extramural) use surfaces. All features (except wall features) were inferred to have been associated with a surface of some type; thus, a surface was designated for each feature, regardless of whether a surface was visible.

How Artifact-Surface Associations Were Defined

Artifacts were inferred to be associated with a surface if they contacted the surface or rested on an object that contacted the surface. Artifacts were inferred to be possibly associated with a surface if they were within 5 cm of the surface (if an artifact was within 5 cm of a surface, the elevation of the artifact relative to the surface was recorded).

Tree-Ring Sampling

All burned and unburned wood specimens that appeared to contain 20 or more rings were collected as tree-ring samples. These samples were collected and securely wrapped in cotton string as promptly as possible after exposure to prevent drying and destruction of the sample. Tree-ring samples were point-located (i.e., the locations were documented both horizontally and vertically).

Archaeomagnetic Sampling

None of the few hearths exposed during Crow Canyon's testing had been exposed to enough heat to derive archaeomagnetic dates.

Archaeobotanical (Flotation) Sampling

Flotation samples were routinely collected from contexts containing burned organic material. These contexts included ashy midden deposits, hearth fills, ash deposits on kiva floors, and burned roof fall strata. Standard samples were 1 liter, but smaller samples were collected where a smaller deposit of burned material was encountered. Modern plant and animal disturbances were avoided when sampling.

Pollen Sampling

No pollen samples were collected, as the structure floors we exposed (in the great tower complex) had been previously excavated in 1931 by a field school from Western State College, Gunnison, Colorado.

Other Sampling