Luminescence dating of anthropogenic features of the San Luis Valley, Colorado: from stone huts to stone walls

Quaternary International
By: , and 



The Snake Nest Wall site and the Crestone Stone Huts are in the northern San Luis Valley, Colorado, and provide a unique opportunity to date high-altitude archeological sites of unknown age and origin using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). We sampled sediment underlying foundation stones of these structures to establish a chronological framework for each site's construction. OSL dating of the quartz grains directly under the Snake Nest Wall suggest that the stones and, therefore, the structure was most recently emplaced between 1855 and 1890 A.D. Dating of the sediment beneath the Crestone Stone Huts suggests the construction time of these huts is between 1860 and 1890 A.D. Analysis of the equivalent dose (DE) dispersion of the OSL samples at Snake Nest Wall and the Crestone Huts shows that the majority of sediments were fully bleached prior to deposition and the low scatter suggests that short-term or shallow alluvial processes were the dominant transport for sediments. In both cases, the OSL ages show that the construction was during very recent historical times, although it is likely that the Snake Nest Wall was rebuilt in the late 19th century. Further study is warranted at the Snake Nest Wall since it shows signs of greater antiquity and a continued presence of human use. The Crestone Huts are shown to be a product of railroad building during the boomtown days of Lucky and Crestone.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Luminescence dating of anthropogenic features of the San Luis Valley, Colorado: from stone huts to stone walls
Series title Quaternary International
DOI 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.067
Volume 362
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 50
Last page 62
Conference Title 9th New World Luminescence Dating Workshop
Conference Location Logan, UT
Conference Date August 16-18, 2013
Country United States
State Colorado
Other Geospatial San Luis Valley
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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