Projectile Points, Chronology, and the Oshara Tradition in the San Luis Valley

Colorado’s San Luis Valley has a rich cultural history from the Clovis period all the way up to the modern era. Few archaeological sites in the region, however, preserve much evidence of repeated occupations over millennia. The Scott Miller site, in Rio Grande County, with over 200 projectile points that span from the Folsom period to just the last few hundred years, is one exception. Located on a relic wetland—or now-dried up peat bog—the Scott Miller site would have been a prime hunting ground for thousands of years. In 2020, the Paleocultural Resource Group (PCRG) analyzed the projectile point assemblage from the Scott Miller site and found that there were periodic Paleoindian occupations, followed by extensive occupations during the Oshara tradition period—or what is roughly equivalent to the Archaic period in the Great Plains. Use of the site continued through the Late Prehistoric period. This presentation will discuss the results of this analysis, including findings on how the site was used and how that use changed over time.