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Culturally Peeled Trees in Northern Colorado
Presented by Ms. Marcy REISER on 16 May 2013 from 13:20 to 13:40
Type: Oral Presentation
Session: New World Dendroarchaeology
Track: New World dendroarchaeology
The indigenous use of trees has been well-documented in western North America, but not in northern Colorado. We present data from 37 trees likely peeled by Native Americans between 1605 and 1812 CE, based on dendrochronological analysis of scars. All trees were ponderosa pines between 1740 and 2788 m elevation and were located serendipitously during the course of fire history studies. They occured in groups, with the greatest concentration (19 trees) at Red Mountain Open Space in Larimer County. The Red Mountain area also features a 1000-year history of fire and a rich archaeological record of human activity. We also present data for six trees with similar modifications that date to the settlement era, and seem likely to have been scarred by Euro-Americans. Culturally modified trees are a swiftly vanishing resource due to changing climate, fire, bark beetle attacks and intensifying land use. Further study and more extensive searches for peeled trees is needed urgently.