Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Short Note on the Curation of Artifacts

When artifacts are discovered, they need to be left where they are found so that archaeologists can recover them and note the context in which they are found. This applies to all public land. Private land is treated differently.

When scientists get them back to a lab or university, each new artifact is assigned a series of numbers and letters to identify the site where the item has come from. Along with this new number is all of the details that the scientists have measured and noted about an artifact.

The numbering system is a standard system used throughout the United States, and it is the Smithsonian Trinomial System (STS). For instance, in Colorado a newly found artifact is given this new number:  5TL3032

How is this  Smithsonian Trinomial System number created you might ask? This Here is how it works.

5 is the fifth state in the United States in alphabetical order so it is 5; Five = Colorado (Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut , Colorado (fifth)

TL is for the County the site is in. In this case it is Teller County.

3032 is a sequential number to that site. This is the 3,032 site discovered in Colorado. If a number follows the site number 3032, it  identifies the individual artifact.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument uncataloged
artifact. It does not yet have the STS number assigned.
But we will give it one for an example. It could be this: 5TL3745.43
5 is Colorado, TL is Teller County, 3745 is the site number,
and 43 is the number assigned to this arrowhead.
This is an arrowhead made of obsidian. It is
likely an arrowhead knapped by Ute Indians sometime
before the 1870s. © S. Veatch. 

This numbering system is also a way to keep sites confidential and unknown to people who would raid these sites and carry off archaeological remains to be sold on Ebay or at other places.  Archaeological sites must always be protected.  Once an artifact is removed before a scientist can study its location, and how the artifact fits into the ground in relation to other remains (context), all of the information connected to the artifact is lost forever .

Welcome! This is the gateway to adventure and discovery

Through this blog pebble pups and junior members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society can access their lessons, work on assignments and projects, and receive details about field trips in the Pikes Peak Region. This Internet program is also suitable for young people who are interested in Earth science but do not live near a rock club or gem and mineral society or for young people anywhere who want a deeper dive into these topics. The only requirement is that all participants must be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and must fill out the CSMS membership form (under important websites) and send their registration and membership fee in. Steven Veatch is the senior instructor and will need an email from you with your name, address, phone number, and permission from your parents to participate in this program.