In the very short time between getting off work and the sun going down on Wednesday evening, I hiked near Jackass Wash to search for some pit houses I’d seen photos of on Flickr. I’d identified one of the photo locations based on the background and, from that starting point, was able to pan around in Google Earth to find some of the pit houses almost a mile away. With a starting point and a destination in mind, I started hiking and looking for other ruins or artifacts along the way. Shortly before reaching the pit houses I encountered some stones laid out in a large rectangle, but it didn’t appear to have been an enclosed, dug-out type of structure. Very odd.
I could see the pit houses ahead and realized that as the sun sank below the horizon I was about to lose the direct light hitting the structures. I jogged the last few hundred yards and snapped a few quick shots in the last minute or two before the sun disappeared. Then I slowed down and took a closer look at the pit houses and the ground around them. There were two pit houses, and another depression in the ground that wasn’t surrounded by rocks that may have also been a structure at one time. The largest of the pit houses was the best I’ve ever seen. It was square in shape and dug more than a foot below the surface, with some very large rocks making up the surrounding walls. The other pit house may have been slightly larger in diameter, but wasn’t dug as deeply, nor were the walls as well-made.
It seemed there was a dearth of any artifacts on the ground and I was beginning to question if these structures really were prehistoric. Then I found a couple pieces of broken pottery, and finally a large pile of potsherds and chert flakes. A historically recent visitor certainly must have gathered up all the scattered pieces and placed them in a single pile. Among the broken pieces was a pot handle–the first I’ve ever seen. With the sun down it was getting cold and dark quickly. I resigned myself to leaving without having a chance to fully check the place out. I beelined it back to the car, and even my quick pace couldn’t keep me warm.