Colorado site may be older than pyramids

Just what is it that makes the digs at the 8,200-foot level near Denver so exciting? Archaeologists have discovered dab-and-wattle construction material there--the forerunner of adobe--which dates from 4,000 to 7,000 years before the present. This compares with a date of 4,700 years ago for the oldest of the Egyptian pyramids.

Normally, mud dab disintegrates in 200 years. But the buildings at Windy Gap caught fire. As a result, the dab, like a piece of pottery, was fired into a more enduring substance.

Not enough work has been done to determine the shape and nature of the structures, explains Jeffrey L. Kenyon, a Bureau of Reclamation archaeologist. But there are indications that this may have been a permanent site. If this is the case, anthropologists will have to alter theories that picture the inhabitants of the Rocky Mountain area of this time as nomadic hunter-gatherers who ventured into the mountains only in the summers.

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