GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- A new discovery by the Museum of the West could change what is know about Spanish settlers in Colorado.
The museum's investigative team made a small, but significant discovery, and although it doesn't look like one, it's called a 'dog'. They found it along Kannah Creek, in Mesa County. It's a small piece of a Spanish rifle that dates back to 1500 or 1600.
According to the museum, it was previously thought that the Spanish weren't even in the region until the 1700's. No Spanish artifact of this kind has ever been found this far north.
"You could actually wind them up, and then you put the 'dog,' which we found, and it would set off a spark once you release the coil and you could actually fire the weapon," said David Bailey, the director of theWestern Investigations Team. "The real weapon was probably 3 feet to 4 feet long. They call it a pistol, but it looked more like a rifle."
The team said it found this small piece about a month ago, and the groups still has some investigating to do. They believe either the Ute tribe traded with early Spanish settlers or an illegal expedition brought the gun to the Western Slope. They'll have CMU determine the actual age in the coming months.