Browse & Collection

Mantle's Cave Archaeological Collection

Browse the Collection

Large images and detailed descriptions of the objects are available by clicking either the thumbnail image or the object name from the table below. When available, comments from Scoggin's journal are included in italics. Images and descriptions will display in a new browser window.

Object Name

Globular basket (UCM 5957)

 
The discovery by Lee and Jones of this globular basket in early summer 1939 led to the professional archaeological investigation of Mantle's Cave. The basket was shallowly buried in sand. It contained noose peg snares, a net bag, three fish hooks and fishing line, and three bundles of games snares with over a hundred snares in all. This was called Cache 2.
 
The basket has a constricted mouth and a leather strap. It is a close-coiled basket that has a split-rod foundation and interlocking stitches. It has a normal continuous center, the work direction is right to left, the work surface is concave, and the rim finish is false braided. It appears that both the fag and moving ends are bound under. The interior of this basket has been waterproofed with pitch. It measures 14 cm in height, and 34 cm in diameter at the mouth of the basket. Its widest circumference is 64 cm and the base diameter is 19 cm. The differences in diameter were accomplished by changing the widths of the rods. There are 2-3 stitches per centimeter. The basket exhibits several repairs, while most of the objects found within the basket show little wear from use.
 
What is particularly noteworthy about this basket is that it shows a blend of Fremont, Ancestral Puebloan, and possibly Numic influences in its construction. The majority of the attributes observed in the construction of the basket are considered Fremont with three exceptions: the globular shape of the basket, the false braid trim, and pitch used to coat the interior. The first two attributes are common in Ancestral Puebloan baskets while the use of pitch is seen in Numic baskets.
 
A game snare from this basket was dated. It produced a calibrated carbon-14 date of 888-1150 A.D. (.99), which we interpret as dating to about 1019 A.D.
 
Photo by Francois Gohier.
Globular basket

Globular basket (UCM 5957)

 
The discovery by Lee and Jones of this globular basket in early summer 1939 led to the professional archaeological investigation of Mantle's Cave. The basket was shallowly buried in sand. It contained noose peg snares, a net bag, three fish hooks and fishing line, and three bundles of games snares with over a hundred snares in all. This was called Cache 2.
 
The basket has a constricted mouth and a leather strap. It is a close-coiled basket that has a split-rod foundation and interlocking stitches. It has a normal continuous center, the work direction is right to left, the work surface is concave, and the rim finish is false braided. It appears that both the fag and moving ends are bound under. The interior of this basket has been waterproofed with pitch. It measures 14 cm in height, and 34 cm in diameter at the mouth of the basket. Its widest circumference is 64 cm and the base diameter is 19 cm. The differences in diameter were accomplished by changing the widths of the rods. There are 2-3 stitches per centimeter. The basket exhibits several repairs, while most of the objects found within the basket show little wear from use.
 
What is particularly noteworthy about this basket is that it shows a blend of Fremont, Ancestral Puebloan, and possibly Numic influences in its construction. The majority of the attributes observed in the construction of the basket are considered Fremont with three exceptions: the globular shape of the basket, the false braid trim, and pitch used to coat the interior. The first two attributes are common in Ancestral Puebloan baskets while the use of pitch is seen in Numic baskets.
 
A game snare from this basket was dated. It produced a calibrated carbon-14 date of 888-1150 A.D. (.99), which we interpret as dating to about 1019 A.D.
 
Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 5957)

Fishing hooks and line (UCM 5960)

These composite fish hooks found in the globular basket from Cache 2 average approximately 3.8 cm in length. They are made of wood with a bone point or barb lashed to them with cordage. The cordage is made of dogbane (Apocynum spp.). Pine gum helps hold the bone points in place.

One hook is attached to fishing line, which is approximately 274.5c m long. The fishing line is tapered, two-ply, Z spin, S final twist in construction. A smaller, thinner second line is attached to the hook and may have been used to attach bait or a sinker. The other two hooks are attached to fishing line that is not tapered and are three-ply, Z spin, S final twist. The line is approximately 300.5 cm in length. Small second lines are also attached to the hooks.

The hooks and line are carefully crafted and show little use. Not many fish hooks at Fremont sites have been reported in the literature. However, they are not unexpected artifacts, considering that fish would have been an available food resource for the people who stored the hooks in Mantle's Cave. Numerous fish bones were recovered from the cave.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Fishing hooks and line

Fishing hooks and line (UCM 5960)

These composite fish hooks found in the globular basket from Cache 2 average approximately 3.8 cm in length. They are made of wood with a bone point or barb lashed to them with cordage. The cordage is made of dogbane (Apocynum spp.). Pine gum helps hold the bone points in place.

One hook is attached to fishing line, which is approximately 274.5c m long. The fishing line is tapered, two-ply, Z spin, S final twist in construction. A smaller, thinner second line is attached to the hook and may have been used to attach bait or a sinker. The other two hooks are attached to fishing line that is not tapered and are three-ply, Z spin, S final twist. The line is approximately 300.5 cm in length. Small second lines are also attached to the hooks.

The hooks and line are carefully crafted and show little use. Not many fish hooks at Fremont sites have been reported in the literature. However, they are not unexpected artifacts, considering that fish would have been an available food resource for the people who stored the hooks in Mantle's Cave. Numerous fish bones were recovered from the cave.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 5960)

Basketry ladle (UCM 5943) This basketry ladle was another artifact brought to the Museum in 1939 by Lee and Jones. Ladle forms are not typical in Fremont material culture areas making the recovery of this one from Mantle's Cave very intriguing. Generally ladles are thought to have their origins in Ancestral Puebloan basketry and pottery. Some basketry ladles have been found at Aztec Ruin and Chaco Canyon (Morris and Burgh 1941), and they are generally associated with Ancestral Puebloan material culture.

This distinctive artifact is close-coiled and has a one-rod and bundle foundation with interlocking stitches. It is made of willow. The method of starting is continuous coil and the work direction is right to left. The work surface is convex and the rim is a self rim. It is a very well made specimen with tightly coiled stitches. The fag and moving ends seem to be bound under. The cup portion of this artifact contains minor charring. The ladle measures 17 cm long and 9 cm wide. Similar to the globular basket, the construction techniques of the ladle are predominantly typical Fremont, while the form is not, again suggesting Ancestral Puebloan influence.

This artifact has not been dated.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Basketry ladle

Basketry ladle (UCM 5943) This basketry ladle was another artifact brought to the Museum in 1939 by Lee and Jones. Ladle forms are not typical in Fremont material culture areas making the recovery of this one from Mantle's Cave very intriguing. Generally ladles are thought to have their origins in Ancestral Puebloan basketry and pottery. Some basketry ladles have been found at Aztec Ruin and Chaco Canyon (Morris and Burgh 1941), and they are generally associated with Ancestral Puebloan material culture.

This distinctive artifact is close-coiled and has a one-rod and bundle foundation with interlocking stitches. It is made of willow. The method of starting is continuous coil and the work direction is right to left. The work surface is convex and the rim is a self rim. It is a very well made specimen with tightly coiled stitches. The fag and moving ends seem to be bound under. The cup portion of this artifact contains minor charring. The ladle measures 17 cm long and 9 cm wide. Similar to the globular basket, the construction techniques of the ladle are predominantly typical Fremont, while the form is not, again suggesting Ancestral Puebloan influence.

This artifact has not been dated.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

UCM (5943)

Necklace (UCM 5976)

From Scoggin's journal:

Ed uncovered some beads today, in section D-1, comprising what looks to be a string several feet long, placed in gentle loops along the bottom of a crevice between stones...It is possible to uncover the beads in a fine manner with a hand bellows so that sketches can be drawn. January 8, 1940

It took Scoggin and Lohr two days to uncover this shallowly buried necklace made of juniper berries and bird-bone tubes. Upon discovering that the original material used to string the necklace had disintegrated, they worked laboriously so as to be able to immediately restring the necklace as it had been originally constructed. The necklace was not associated with other artifacts. It measures 8.45 m in length, suggesting it was wrapped around the wearer's neck several times when worn. Berry and bone necklaces have been recovered from other sites in the eastern Great Basin, including one found at Hogup Cave, dating to 4250 B.C. Anthropomorphs (human figures) in rock art images, Fremont and older, wear what appear to be necklaces possibly similar to this one.

This artifact has not been dated.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Necklace

Necklace (UCM 5976)

From Scoggin's journal:

Ed uncovered some beads today, in section D-1, comprising what looks to be a string several feet long, placed in gentle loops along the bottom of a crevice between stones...It is possible to uncover the beads in a fine manner with a hand bellows so that sketches can be drawn. January 8, 1940

It took Scoggin and Lohr two days to uncover this shallowly buried necklace made of juniper berries and bird-bone tubes. Upon discovering that the original material used to string the necklace had disintegrated, they worked laboriously so as to be able to immediately restring the necklace as it had been originally constructed. The necklace was not associated with other artifacts. It measures 8.45 m in length, suggesting it was wrapped around the wearer's neck several times when worn. Berry and bone necklaces have been recovered from other sites in the eastern Great Basin, including one found at Hogup Cave, dating to 4250 B.C. Anthropomorphs (human figures) in rock art images, Fremont and older, wear what appear to be necklaces possibly similar to this one.

This artifact has not been dated.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 5976)

Corn on stick (UCM 6225)

From Scoggin's journal:

...after a fine sleep...four perfect ears of corn were among the interesting things found today. February 17, 1940

The earliest Fremont corn has been dated to approximately 2000 years ago (Madsen 1989). In some areas corn became well established. In others its cultivation was a part-time activity while hunting and gathering continued.

Mantle's Cave was clearly used for the storage of corn, as evidenced by the thirty-seven pothole storage chambers, most of which were bell-shaped; the two slab lined storage pits; and the eight masonry granaries reported by Burgh and Scoggin (1948). The storage chambers in Mantle's Cave were empty at the time of excavation except for "scraps" of corn. Corn in various forms was found throughout the cave: random kernels, kernels found in some of the bags recovered, and whole cobs and corn on a stick as seen in this photograph.

The corn at Mantle's Cave was identified as a Mexican Pyramidal type, distinct from the corn from the Four Corners area. Today, the distinction still holds and the corn found in most Fremont sites is categorized as Fremont Dent. It differs from Ancestral Puebloan corn in that there are usually more dented kernels, slightly larger tapering cobs, bigger cob diameters and greater row numbers. Madsen (1989) suggests that the sticks may have been used for roasting the corn or to keep rodents away while the corn was in storage.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Corn on stick

Corn on stick (UCM 6225)

From Scoggin's journal:

...after a fine sleep...four perfect ears of corn were among the interesting things found today. February 17, 1940

The earliest Fremont corn has been dated to approximately 2000 years ago (Madsen 1989). In some areas corn became well established. In others its cultivation was a part-time activity while hunting and gathering continued.

Mantle's Cave was clearly used for the storage of corn, as evidenced by the thirty-seven pothole storage chambers, most of which were bell-shaped; the two slab lined storage pits; and the eight masonry granaries reported by Burgh and Scoggin (1948). The storage chambers in Mantle's Cave were empty at the time of excavation except for "scraps" of corn. Corn in various forms was found throughout the cave: random kernels, kernels found in some of the bags recovered, and whole cobs and corn on a stick as seen in this photograph.

The corn at Mantle's Cave was identified as a Mexican Pyramidal type, distinct from the corn from the Four Corners area. Today, the distinction still holds and the corn found in most Fremont sites is categorized as Fremont Dent. It differs from Ancestral Puebloan corn in that there are usually more dented kernels, slightly larger tapering cobs, bigger cob diameters and greater row numbers. Madsen (1989) suggests that the sticks may have been used for roasting the corn or to keep rodents away while the corn was in storage.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 6225)

Moccasins (UCM 6193)

From Scoggin's journal:

This weather, or us and our super-warm blood!...We gave the day until about noon to warm-up and the wind to loose (sic) some of its chill and when there was no good promise for either happening, Ed and I ...started out for the cave...uncovered a complete pair of buckskin moccasins, which had been tied into a clumpy bundle with a long piece of cordage and "cached" a few inches below the surface. February 19, 1940

Burgh and Scoggin (1948) described the moccasins as typical Fremont construction, made from mountain sheep hide with dewclaws attached. Use wear is evident. The dewclaws on this pair are missing, perhaps worn off, and the moccasins have several repairs.

It is interesting to note that one moccasin of this pair (A271) has two sole patches sewn on with two-ply, S spin, Z final twist cordage. Two other pieces of cordage that seem to act as ties vary in cordage construction technique: one is two-ply, Z spin, S final twist and the other is two-ply, S spin, Z final twist. A third piece of cordage on this moccasin, which appears to have less use and hence is probably newer, is two-ply, S spin, Z final twist. It is unusual to find objects with two types of cordage because most prehistoric communities use only one type of construction technique. The other moccasin in the pair has only one type of cordage for all three pieces: two-ply, S spin, Z final twist. The moccasins were considered to be "winter" ones because they were stuffed with cedar bark, presumably for insulation. One of the moccasins produced a calibrated carbon-14 date of 600-780 A.D. (.94), which we interpret as dating to about 690 A.D.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Moccasins

Moccasins (UCM 6193)

From Scoggin's journal:

This weather, or us and our super-warm blood!...We gave the day until about noon to warm-up and the wind to loose (sic) some of its chill and when there was no good promise for either happening, Ed and I ...started out for the cave...uncovered a complete pair of buckskin moccasins, which had been tied into a clumpy bundle with a long piece of cordage and "cached" a few inches below the surface. February 19, 1940

Burgh and Scoggin (1948) described the moccasins as typical Fremont construction, made from mountain sheep hide with dewclaws attached. Use wear is evident. The dewclaws on this pair are missing, perhaps worn off, and the moccasins have several repairs.

It is interesting to note that one moccasin of this pair (A271) has two sole patches sewn on with two-ply, S spin, Z final twist cordage. Two other pieces of cordage that seem to act as ties vary in cordage construction technique: one is two-ply, Z spin, S final twist and the other is two-ply, S spin, Z final twist. A third piece of cordage on this moccasin, which appears to have less use and hence is probably newer, is two-ply, S spin, Z final twist. It is unusual to find objects with two types of cordage because most prehistoric communities use only one type of construction technique. The other moccasin in the pair has only one type of cordage for all three pieces: two-ply, S spin, Z final twist. The moccasins were considered to be "winter" ones because they were stuffed with cedar bark, presumably for insulation. One of the moccasins produced a calibrated carbon-14 date of 600-780 A.D. (.94), which we interpret as dating to about 690 A.D.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 6193)

Deer scalp headdress (UCM 6102)

From Scoggin's journal:

I've come across a situation...whatever it turns out to be, the moccasins found yesterday belong with it as does a spectacular headpiece uncovered during today's work. February 20, 1940

Scoggin discovered Mantle's Cave Cache 3, which contained this deer scalp headdress and the previously described pair of moccasins. The headdress had been placed on a bed of cedar bark in a shallow pit with the moccasins on top of it. The unique and carefully crafted headdress is made from the crown of a doe. The hair was removed and the hide was tanned. The ears have feather quills woven in them. Cedar bark was stuffed into the ears at the base. Both strategies help the ears to stand rigid. What appear to be the eye holes were sewn shut with cordage that is two-ply, S spin, Z final twist. Eyes sewn shut are also seen in the pouch that held the flicker feather headdress from Cache 1, although the cordage used to sew those slits was two-ply, Z spin, S final twist. Recently obtained radiocarbon dates indicate that this headdress is from the Middle Archaic (3000-500 B.C.).

This artifact produced two calibrated carbon-14 dates: 1734-1455 B.C. (.99) and 1620-1410 B.C (.94), which we interpret as about 1572 B.C. This date was completely unexpected because it was believed that Mantle's Cave was used between approximately 400 and 800 A.D. In addition, the moccasins found in the same cache dated several hundred years earlier, suggesting this cache was formed by more than one individual over time.

Few other similar headdresses have been recovered in archaeological contexts. Allen and Munsey (2002:101) describe a partial deer scalp headdress recovered from Canyonlands and radiocarbon dated to 1470-1660 A.D. It is similar in construction to the Mantle's Cave specimen, having the eye sewn shut, but varies in that the ear is stiffened with a twig. It also has part of an antler and is decorated with olivella shells.

Based on their research on Numic and Puebloan ethnographic animal headdresses and the few similar headdresses recovered from eastern Great Basin archaeological contexts and Fremont and earlier Great Basin rock art, Allen and Munsey suggest that such headdresses were used ceremonially to prepare for hunts or as disguises in hunts. They posit that the Mantle's Cave headdress may be a precursor to their specimen, hence also possibly used in ritual.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Deer scalp headdress

Deer scalp headdress (UCM 6102)

From Scoggin's journal:

I've come across a situation...whatever it turns out to be, the moccasins found yesterday belong with it as does a spectacular headpiece uncovered during today's work. February 20, 1940

Scoggin discovered Mantle's Cave Cache 3, which contained this deer scalp headdress and the previously described pair of moccasins. The headdress had been placed on a bed of cedar bark in a shallow pit with the moccasins on top of it. The unique and carefully crafted headdress is made from the crown of a doe. The hair was removed and the hide was tanned. The ears have feather quills woven in them. Cedar bark was stuffed into the ears at the base. Both strategies help the ears to stand rigid. What appear to be the eye holes were sewn shut with cordage that is two-ply, S spin, Z final twist. Eyes sewn shut are also seen in the pouch that held the flicker feather headdress from Cache 1, although the cordage used to sew those slits was two-ply, Z spin, S final twist. Recently obtained radiocarbon dates indicate that this headdress is from the Middle Archaic (3000-500 B.C.).

This artifact produced two calibrated carbon-14 dates: 1734-1455 B.C. (.99) and 1620-1410 B.C (.94), which we interpret as about 1572 B.C. This date was completely unexpected because it was believed that Mantle's Cave was used between approximately 400 and 800 A.D. In addition, the moccasins found in the same cache dated several hundred years earlier, suggesting this cache was formed by more than one individual over time.

Few other similar headdresses have been recovered in archaeological contexts. Allen and Munsey (2002:101) describe a partial deer scalp headdress recovered from Canyonlands and radiocarbon dated to 1470-1660 A.D. It is similar in construction to the Mantle's Cave specimen, having the eye sewn shut, but varies in that the ear is stiffened with a twig. It also has part of an antler and is decorated with olivella shells.

Based on their research on Numic and Puebloan ethnographic animal headdresses and the few similar headdresses recovered from eastern Great Basin archaeological contexts and Fremont and earlier Great Basin rock art, Allen and Munsey suggest that such headdresses were used ceremonially to prepare for hunts or as disguises in hunts. They posit that the Mantle's Cave headdress may be a precursor to their specimen, hence also possibly used in ritual.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 6102)

Hafted knife (UCM 5990)

From Scoggin's journal:

Today's digging was very short, but exceptionally rich. ... [we] found a unique long knife blade...probably the most valuable find thus far made. February 24, 1940

Burgh and Scoggin (1948:47) concluded that this hafted knife was "the most interesting stone implement in the collection." They described the blade as coarsely chipped from a black stone of a dull finish and with sharp, jagged edges. The handle is made of cottonwood and measures 11 cm in length. It is split to allow the insertion of the blade. The handle was bound with willow splints and the blade was cemented in the handle with pine gum. Burgh and Scoggin had the knife X-rayed, which revealed that the blade in the handle was broken squarely about 4.5 cm below the slightly flaring hilt, at the junction of the handle. The overall length of the knife is 21.2 cm. The knife appears to have been used. It has not been dated.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Hafted knife

Hafted knife (UCM 5990)

From Scoggin's journal:

Today's digging was very short, but exceptionally rich. ... [we] found a unique long knife blade...probably the most valuable find thus far made. February 24, 1940

Burgh and Scoggin (1948:47) concluded that this hafted knife was "the most interesting stone implement in the collection." They described the blade as coarsely chipped from a black stone of a dull finish and with sharp, jagged edges. The handle is made of cottonwood and measures 11 cm in length. It is split to allow the insertion of the blade. The handle was bound with willow splints and the blade was cemented in the handle with pine gum. Burgh and Scoggin had the knife X-rayed, which revealed that the blade in the handle was broken squarely about 4.5 cm below the slightly flaring hilt, at the junction of the handle. The overall length of the knife is 21.2 cm. The knife appears to have been used. It has not been dated.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 5990)

Flicker feather "headdress" (UCM 6178)

From Scoggin's journal:

…the most unusual object of the dig. The finds each passing day seem to be that, I note, glancing back through the pages. April 2, 1940

One of the most beautiful objects recovered from Mantle's Cave is a flicker feather object resembling a headdress. The headdress is intricately constructed and was found in a buckskin pouch. It is made of flicker feathers, ermine, and buckskin.

More than 370 feathers are in the headdress. Six feathers at the center of the crest are from the yellow-shafted flicker and the rest of the feathers are central tail feathers of the red-shafted flicker. Interestingly, the red-shafted flicker is native west of the Rockies, while the yellow-shafted flicker lives east of the Rockies. The feathers are carefully trimmed and the quills sewn together with very fine cordage. They are placed between strips of ermine and sewn into place. Rawhide thongs at either end of the ermine may have been used to hold the headdress in place when it was worn. Long wing feathers adorn the ends. This artifact also contains two types of cordage: two-ply, S spin, Z twist and two-ply, Z spin, S twist.

The original excavators of Mantle's Cave dubbed this object a headdress, although its use remains uncertain. It dates to 996-1190 A.D. This is the average of two samples from the headdress that were radiocarbon dated (Truesdale 1993). Some researchers believe this is the transitional time period between the Fremont people and Numic-speaking people in this area, so it could have belonged to either cultural group, although the majority of researchers believes it is a Fremont artifact. The headdress is well preserved and hopefully future researchers will be able to discover more about its origin and use.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Flicker feather "headdress"

Flicker feather "headdress" (UCM 6178)

From Scoggin's journal:

…the most unusual object of the dig. The finds each passing day seem to be that, I note, glancing back through the pages. April 2, 1940

One of the most beautiful objects recovered from Mantle's Cave is a flicker feather object resembling a headdress. The headdress is intricately constructed and was found in a buckskin pouch. It is made of flicker feathers, ermine, and buckskin.

More than 370 feathers are in the headdress. Six feathers at the center of the crest are from the yellow-shafted flicker and the rest of the feathers are central tail feathers of the red-shafted flicker. Interestingly, the red-shafted flicker is native west of the Rockies, while the yellow-shafted flicker lives east of the Rockies. The feathers are carefully trimmed and the quills sewn together with very fine cordage. They are placed between strips of ermine and sewn into place. Rawhide thongs at either end of the ermine may have been used to hold the headdress in place when it was worn. Long wing feathers adorn the ends. This artifact also contains two types of cordage: two-ply, S spin, Z twist and two-ply, Z spin, S twist.

The original excavators of Mantle's Cave dubbed this object a headdress, although its use remains uncertain. It dates to 996-1190 A.D. This is the average of two samples from the headdress that were radiocarbon dated (Truesdale 1993). Some researchers believe this is the transitional time period between the Fremont people and Numic-speaking people in this area, so it could have belonged to either cultural group, although the majority of researchers believes it is a Fremont artifact. The headdress is well preserved and hopefully future researchers will be able to discover more about its origin and use.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 6178)

Bird figurines (UCM 6638)

These three figurines do not come from Mantle's Cave, but were among twelve anthropomorphic bird and animal figurines found at Marigold Cave (5MF9), also in Yampa Canyon. Marigold Cave was explored by Scoggin and later excavated by Burgh. Marigold Cave is a large vaulted cave with two ledges, each about 55 m long and 3-6 m wide. Unlike Mantle's Cave, five house floors with hearths as well as masonry granaries were recorded. The site is classified as Fremont and archived notes indicate it was dated to 750 A.D. A calibrated radiocarbon date of 1200 ±60 A.D. was also later obtained (Truesdale, et. al 1993).

Most Fremont figurines were unfired trapezoidal clay anthropomorphs (human figures), elaborately decorated and/or painted, but the Fremont also appear to have made simpler figurines of animals and birds like these. These fragile, unfired birds seem to be made of locally obtained clay. They have perforated holes through the center of their bodies which Burgh speculated were used to hang them. Wooden twigs were attached to depict feathers. These birds are approximately 6 cm in length.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

Bird figurines

Bird figurines (UCM 6638)

These three figurines do not come from Mantle's Cave, but were among twelve anthropomorphic bird and animal figurines found at Marigold Cave (5MF9), also in Yampa Canyon. Marigold Cave was explored by Scoggin and later excavated by Burgh. Marigold Cave is a large vaulted cave with two ledges, each about 55 m long and 3-6 m wide. Unlike Mantle's Cave, five house floors with hearths as well as masonry granaries were recorded. The site is classified as Fremont and archived notes indicate it was dated to 750 A.D. A calibrated radiocarbon date of 1200 ±60 A.D. was also later obtained (Truesdale, et. al 1993).

Most Fremont figurines were unfired trapezoidal clay anthropomorphs (human figures), elaborately decorated and/or painted, but the Fremont also appear to have made simpler figurines of animals and birds like these. These fragile, unfired birds seem to be made of locally obtained clay. They have perforated holes through the center of their bodies which Burgh speculated were used to hang them. Wooden twigs were attached to depict feathers. These birds are approximately 6 cm in length.

Photo by Francois Gohier.

(UCM 6638)