The Concow Basin is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, approximately fifteen miles east of Chico, California, and it’s the ancestral lands of the Konkow Maidu tribe. The archaeological site Butte-961, an ancient village that dates to about A.D. 1500 sits in the basin. This date is based on the analysis of projectile points that were found there, and more research is needed to determine its precise age. The village is approximately twelve acres in size, and associated cultural resources have been found over a much larger area.
Butte-961 was originally recorded in 1987 by Anthony Salzarulo and Robert Johnson, residents of the town of Concow. Salzarulo is of Maidu ancestry, and he has visited the site many times. The Salzarulo and Johnson site record identifies seven bedrock mortar outcrops with several hundred mortar holes. The site record also identifies “several dozen” circular housepit depressions in three clusters. A much larger depression is located outside of the village that is thought to have been a ceremonial structure known as a dancehouse. Whereas most of the circular depressions are roughly six feet in diameter, the dancehouse depression is forty-one feet in diameter and approximately five feet deep. There’s also mention of projectile points, pestles, side-notched pebbles, and soapstone vessel fragments in the site record.
Conservancy member Jerry Fetterman has donated a thirty-five-acre parcel in Colorado’s Montezuma Valley that contains significant archaeological resources. The parcel, which has been named the Yellowjacket Canyon Preserve, is located by the rim of Yellowjacket Canyon, and it borders Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. It is a short distance away from three other Conservancy preserves: the Joe Ben Wheat site complex, Yellowjacket Pueblo, and Albert Porter Pueblo. The Yellowjacket Canyon Preserve is the Conservancy’s twenty-third Colorado preserve, and eighteenth in the Montezuma Valley.
The Zemaitis site in western Michigan contains evidence of human occupation from the terminal Archaic through the Middle and Late Woodland periods. The site sits on a natural levee between the bank of the Grand River and a seasonal marsh, and it afforded its inhabitants a rich array of riverine and wetland resources. The levee grew due to the accumulation of flood and wind deposits, burying evidence of a number of discrete occupations in the process.
Richard Flanders of Grand Valley State University conducted the initial investigations of the site in 1970 and 1975. His work focused on the north end, and he wanted to know if Zemaitis was a substantial habitation site that was associated with one of the larger Middle Woodland mortuaries on the lower Grand River. Though he didn’t find evidence of this association, he did uncover a series of intact middens containing rich deposits of lithics, ceramics, and subsistence remains.