The study of the last remaining Ute wickiups, or brush shelters, along with the historic artifacts found with them has revealed an understudied chapter of Native American history-the early years of contact with European invaders and the final years of Ute sovereignty.
Ephemeral Bounty is the result of this archaeological research and its findings on the protohistoric and early historic Ute Indians of Colorado.
The Colorado Wickiup Project is documenting ephemeral wooden features such as wickiups, tree-platforms, and brush horse corrals that remain scattered throughout the mesas, canyons, and mountains of the state.
They date from the arrival of European newcomers. The project is unique in using the techniques of metal detection, historic trade ware analysis, and tree-ring dating of metal ax-cut wickiup poles to distinguish the Ute sites from historic Euro-American ones.
Researchers have demonstrated that not all Utes left Colorado for the reservations in Utah during the "final removal" in 1881, as has been generally believed.
A significant number remained on their homelands well into the early decades of the twentieth century, with new tools and weapons, but building brush shelters and living much as they had for generations.