“New to the Edge” exhibit opens at Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum
A new exhibit features two pottery vessels found by two groups of San Juan County residents.
The Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum is inaugurating the “New to the Edge” exhibit with artifacts that are new or recent additions to the museum’s collections.
On Easter 2014, Steve and Donna Jensen were picnicking with their grandchildren, Skyler, Cameron, Spencer, and Brittany Jensen, on public lands in nearby Cottonwood Wash when the kids discovered two corrugated jars exposed in an arroyo cut.
The family notified Blanding archaeologist Winston Hurst who, in turn, brought the discovery to the attention of BLM archaeologist, Don Simonis.
Simonis and Hurst met the Jensens at the site a few days later to document the site and to excavate and recover the fragmented vessels.
The Jensens had discovered a small cache of artifacts that included two Mesa Verde Corrugated jars. These cooking or storage vessels likely date to between AD 1150 and 1280.
One of these, reconstructed for exhibitry, shows a rare and interesting design element: a smeared, criss-cross design.
The other vessel chosen for the exhibit’s debut is a beautiful, nearly complete black-on-white ladle.
In April 2019, Leslie Haven and Tad Higgins were walking with Isaac and Kaysen Haven in a canyon just west of Blanding when they discovered a ladle eroding from a cutbank.
Ms. Haven called the Edge of the Cedars to let them know of her discovery.
The museum reached out to Jared Lundell, an archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management, about the Haven/Higgins find.
Lundell visited the site with Ms. Haven the following day to document the location and recover the ladle.
The ladle is typed as Mancos Black-on-white; the painted design and the ladle’s shape suggest that it dates to the late AD 1000s / early AD 1100s.
The ladle has several interesting features that speak to its use and history. The rim around the bowl is well worn all around its circumference (indicating its long use, by both left- and right-handers).
Its extensive life is also suggested by two repair holes that were drilled on either side of a developing crack at the ladle’s rim.
The hollow tube of the handle contains at least several “rattle beads”—the artifact was meant to be both seen and heard.
Its sound suggests the gentle patter of rain, a sound that all of us in the Four Corners can appreciate this year.
The Jensen jar and the Haven/Higgins ladle will be on display in the New to the Edge exhibit until the end of June, at which point a new artifact or two will be selected for display.
The museum will change the exhibit out on a monthly basis and will notify the public of their selection via newspaper and Facebook.