An archeological mystery recently turned up during drainage work around the historic Francisco Fort Museum in La Veta about an hour southwest of Pueblo.
A backhoe operator was digging near the foundation of the historic plaza, when an archaeologist monitoring the work spotted ashes. Michelle Slaughter of Alpine Archeological consultants said her colleague also found bits of animal bone, a pottery shard and charcoal in the trench.
“I wish I could tell you this amazing tale of what this feature means,” she said. “But at this point, we really just don't know.”
The area has a long and active history with Indigenous people dating back ten thousand years, according to Slaughter.
“There’s always been such an interaction of a variety of cultures there,” she said, including different tribes, Hispanic peoples, Europeans and Americans. Rich natural resources including water and wildlife drew people there, according to Slaughter, and the plaza built in 1862 was never formally established as a military fort. It was, however, at one time a trading post, a stop on the railroad and a center of community life.
Slaughter said they need further study to determine exactly what they found, who left it behind and when. Funding for further research would have to be obtained, she added, most likely by the town of La Veta.
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