In case you missed it at the end of my trip report to Coyote Buttes South, while I was out exploring the area I managed to find an ancient Anasazi mug with an animal effigy for a handle that was just barely sticking out of the sand. Below are a few photos of the mug which will eventually be on display at the BLM Visitor Center in St. George.
A closer look at the animal effigy handle. The ears appeared to be broken off, so I’m not quite sure what animal it’s supposed to represent?
Here is my hand in the photo to help show the scale. It’s a little bit larger than a standard coffee mug.
Update: May 2, 2018
The BLM has posted a short article on their Tumblr blog about the mug here:
While hiking on the Arizona Strip in January of 2018, Colorado resident Randy Langstraat discovered a prehistoric artifact in a popular recreation area. Concerned that the small, intact pot was within casual view in a frequently visited area, Langstraat carefully concealed the pot in place and contacted BLM Arizona Strip archaeologist Sarah Page. Langstraat provided Page with a detailed description of the location of the pot.
In February, Page, along with another BLM Arizona Strip archaeologist and law enforcement officers, visited the reported site. The group was delighted to find the pot had not been disturbed and was in near-perfect condition.
After locating the intact pot, Page began a full documentation process of the site and, along with another agency archaeologist, conducted an intensive archaeological survey to determine if additional artifacts were present. No other artifacts were present and the archaeologists believe the pot was left in the location by the pot’s creator with the intent to collect it later. However, the person never recovered it. A detailed analysis was conducted by archaeologist David Van Alfen who determined the pot to be North Creek Corrugated, which dates to the Late Pueblo II period (AD 1050-1250) of the Virgin Branch of the Ancestral Puebloan culture. The effigy handle appears to be that of an animal, possibly a deer or bighorn sheep. However, the ears or horns have been broken off making it difficult to determine precisely.
The BLM plans to place the pot discovered by Langstraat in the display cases in the Visitor Center at the BLM Visitor Center at 345 East Riverside Drive, St George, Utah. By preserving and displaying this pot in a public setting, everyone can share in the history of the Arizona Strip.
Update: May 8, 2018
News4Utah did a short phone interview with me and posted a story about the mug on their website here:
ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) – A man hiking near the Utah border on the Arizona strip discovered more than he anticipated when he found what he says looked like an old clay mug.
“I started to unbury it and realized it was not just a shard, it was the whole mug,” said Colorado resident Randy Langstraat.
Langstraat, a nature photographer was doing what he loved, admiring his surroundings and taking photographs when he noticed something just off the trail, under a boulder. He concealed the mug and contacted the BLM.
“I’m a big believer in leaving thing where I find them, however in this case it was pretty close to a popular trail head and it was small enough that someone could easily wander off with it.
The only decision I could live with would be reporting it so it could be recovered,” said Langstraat.
“We’re grateful for the hiker for reporting it,” said Rachel Carnahan with the BLM Arizona Strip District.