Historic Preservation
PREHISTORIC OCCUPATION OF CHERRY CREEK : 9000 Years on the Creek

Douglas County has many beautiful areas that are ideal for occupation by animals and humans. One such area is in the east-central part of the County where East Cherry Creek and West Cherry Creek merge and flow through rolling hills and meadows to steep-walled canyons. Cherry Creek provided a permanent source of water, which in turn provided many other resources needed by prehistoric peoples to survive, including: water, food, shelter, and wood for cooking and heat. The rock outcrop eroded and cut by the creek provided stone for making tools. This exhibit features a small but representative sample of diagnostic projectile points that show human occupation of this area from ca. 10,000-700 years ago. This range of years encompasses the Plano Period of the Paleoindian Stage, the Early, Middle and Late Periods of the Archaic Stage, and the Early and Middle Ceramic Periods of the Late Prehistoric Stage. The Plano Period was at the end of the Ice Age and soon-to-be extinct animals were becoming scarce. The hunting tools were large stemmed dart points for use with the atlatl and long lanceolate points for spears. By 7500 years before present, the large mammals from the Ice Age were gone and smaller game was the main source of protein. The environment had dramatically changed from the Ice Age and more plant resources were exploited. The toolkit was more diverse with a decrease in the size of projectile points. Dart points were still large but stemmed; side and corner notching styles were used. The end of the Archaic Stage saw significant changes in technologies. This was the Late Prehistoric Stage. Populations increased and became more sedentary. The bow and arrow was introduced as were ceramics. Arrow points were smaller but effective with the more powerful and accurate bow. The east-central Douglas County area of occupation saw people utilizing the resources over approximately 9,300 years.

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PREHISTORIC OCCUPATION OF CHERRY CREEK

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