The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Basketmaker mortuary patterns at Falls Creek


Department of Anthropology, Fort Lewis College

Thursday 4:30-4:45, Galleria North Add to calendar

In the 1930s, Zeke Flora and Earl Morris excavated the Falls Creek Rock Shelters, a Basketmaker II site north of Durango, Colorado. The human remains and associated funerary objects were recently reunited from several different institutions for detailed re-analysis. The assemblage from this site offers a unique glimpse into Basketmaker mortuary practices, particularly due to the excellent preservation of material from the Burial Crevice, including mummification and preservation of perishable objects. In this study, we present interpretations regarding mortuary practices related to age and sex. Patterns were observed by age and sex regarding the distribution of burials at the site as well as the types of associated funerary objects. The site includes three burial locations, including the burial crevice and two separate areas outside the crevice. Infant burials were distributed throughout these three locations, whereas subadults and females were found in the burial crevice and one of two areas outside the crevice. Males were primarily found in a second area outside the crevice and are generally underrepresented. Infants and subadults were often wrapped in hides. Several subadults exhibited the most elaborate burial goods. Aprons and necklaces were associated with females, whereas pendants and projectile points were associated with males. The results of this study will also be discussed within a regional context.

Funding for this research was provided by the Colorado State Historic Fund and San Juan Public Lands.

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