There were many tribes of Native Americans who lived in El Paso County at different times. Native Americans who lived there mostly hunted. The Apaches were the first known Native Americans to live in that particular area, from about 1540 to 1700. A few years later the Comanches lived near Bijou Basin from 1727 to 1800. Next the Arapahoes and the Cheyennes came. They lived there from 1820 to 1846 (Hughes, 1977).
These tools are common. It is hard to determine which group of Native Americans used these tools because there were no projectile points found with them. Projectile points are more distinct and easier to date. The way the projectile point was carved would determine which Native American tribe made these artifacts. Each Native American tribe has different types of projectile points (Taylor, 2010).
With close examination, you will be able to tell what the Bijou Basin artifacts were used for. One of the few ways to tell what the tools were used for is to use a high-powered microscope to look for the wear and what type of damage is on the end.
Figure 1. This hand-held chopper, found at the Bijou Basin, appears to be fashioned from petrified palm wood. The palm grain is evident From the John Harrington collection. Photo by S. Veatch © 2010.
Figure 3. A beautiful example of a knife used by the early occupants of Bijou Basin in eastern El Paso County. The knife is made from petrified wood. From the John Harrington collection. Photo by S. Veatch © 2010.
Daniels, Frank J. 1998. Petrified Wood: The World of Fossilized Wood, Cones, Ferns, and Cycads. Grand Junction, Colorado: Western Colorado Publishing Company, 170 pp.
Hughes, J. Donald. 1977. American Indians in Colorado. Boulder, Colorado: Pruett Publishing Co., 143 pp.
Kent, Dr. Jonathan. 2010. Personal communication by email. Professor of Anthropology, Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Taylor, Jeb. 2010. Personal communication at Stone Age Fair, Loveland, Colorado. Author of Projectile Points of the High Plains. Jeb Taylor Artifacts Inc., 455 pp.