Upcoming Chapter Activities
Insitu biface, Jefferson County, CO
We have returned to in-person meetings at the Emery Archaeology Laboratory at History Colorado (1200 North Broadway, Denver 80203). Please enter through the after hours security entrance on Lincoln St. We will continue to provide an online link for those who wish to attend remotely.
2022 General Meeting Programs
Monday, May 9, 2022 at 7 p.m. MDT – General Meeting (Hybrid)
Chaco Style Great Kivas and Intersite Visibility
Speaker: Gene Wheaton, Professor of Anthropology, Community College of Denver
As the major lunar standstill approaches, we will examine Chaco style great kivas and the common design criterion that was applied in order to be able to view solar and lunar events. We will review how this traditional architectural form during the Chaco era acted as a mechanism to coordinate seasonal ceremonial activities by observation of astronomical events. Evidence that this common design criterion involved an orientation of building elements to the summer and winter solstice sunrise and sunsets is reviewed. In the La Plata River Valley, several Chaco-era communities are revisited with an eye toward inter-site visibility and shared site attributes that indicate integrated community structure. This integrated community structure incorporates Chaco style great kiva architectural features and natural landscape elements.
Gene Wheaton is a Professor of Anthropology at Community College of Denver and a professional archaeologist who provided technical support in inventory and management of cultural resources under the jurisdiction of the Park Service at Aztec Ruins National Monument and the Forest Service at various positions throughout the American Southwest. Professor Wheaton recently completed an excavation of the Wootton site on the Auraria campus and is currently working on an archaeological project at the Ninth Street Historic District Park on the Auraria campus. The main focus of these projects is to foster student and community involvement in archaeology.
Monday, April 11, 2022 at 7 p.m. MDT – General Meeting (Virtual)
Comic Books as Archaeological Data Points: Saving Ephemera
Speaker: Roger Oberdier
Comic books hold a special place in 20th Century American history. As a medium,
comic books have been the printed embodiment of many different genres, appealing to
a wide range of demographics. As archaeological data points, fragments of comic books
have the potential to inform us about the age, gender, and individual interests of the
occupants of 20th Century sites. Identifying and recording comic books in the field is
necessary for this kind of analysis. As ephemera, comic books may not be present the
next time someone visits the site and/or they may not survive excavation processes
unless they are looked for and valued as data. Practical suggestions for identifying and
recording information about these ephemeral artifacts make up the bulk of this
presentation. Some suggestions for collecting and preserving comic books are also
After graduating from University of Colorado Denver in 2017, archaeologist Roger “Obi”
Oberdier has worked in a variety of field settings, as well as in labs and historical
archives. He now works for a CRM firm in Denver.
March 14th at 7PM (MST) – General Meeting (Virtual Meeting)
Speaker: Deb Bollig, Avocational Archaeologist and DC-CAS Membership Secretary
New Science and Old Stones: Latest research findings on Stonehenge
Stonehenge is one of the most studied archaeological sites in the world.
Over the past 20 years, 5 major new research projects have been undertaken at the World Heritage site, upending conventional wisdom about the site (as usual) and uncovering many new monuments. Based on the research using updated scientific tools, numerous books, papers, articles, and videos have been produced that cover the new findings.
This presentation is an overview of many of the discoveries of those projects and others, from the Doggerland area of Mesolithic times to the migration of the Copper/Bronze Age Beaker people into Britain. Much of this information was based on the 2021 DMNS exhibit which was focused on the work led by Professor Michael Parker Pearson who was associated with four of the projects. Professor David Jacques and the work at Blick Mead is also covered.
The presentation ends with a quick look at the current fight to preserve the World Heritage site from a proposed road tunnel which would disturb thousands of in-situ archaeological artifacts.
Deb Bollig is an avocational archaeologist whose advanced degrees are in Mathematics and Management Information Systems. Her earlier careers were mathematics instructor and software engineer. After retiring several years ago, she developed a serious interest in archaeology. She has taught classes about Paleo-Americans, Stonehenge, Computers, and Weather for the Osher Life-Long Learning Institute sponsored by DU. She will be continuing her research with a focus on the Lindenmeier and Hell Gap sites.
February 15th at 7PM MST, General Meeting (Virtual Meeting)
Speaker: Samantha Murphy, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado-Denver
Relating Status to Access to Healthcare in Pre-Contact Peru
During the Middle and Late Horizon Periods
Competition for resources has always been crucial to the study of past populations, and while not always included in these studies, access to healthcare should be considered a resource because it can be vital to the survival of an individual. Resources are normally limited in quality and quantity to the high-status members of the community, and if healthcare is considered a resource, it will not be available to all. Pre-contact Peru offers an excellent case study as there were complex societies that were highly stratified with limited social mobility, along with advanced medical and surgical practices. By analyzing data from several skeletal research collections for trauma and surgical intervention, access to healthcare was assessed. An attempt was made to determine status based on grave good analysis. However, many of these skeletal collections have become separated from initial burial records and, therefore, have minimal burial context. In an attempt to counter this, nutritional markers were used to assess health over time, assuming those of higher status would have better overall health. Early results suggest that most members of the community suffered some kind of trauma over the course of their lifetime and recovered. Access to and quality of surgical intervention do not appear to be restricted based on age, gender or status. This suggests that healthcare was highly accessible and was not a restricted resource as expected. This new research not only assesses responses to disease and trauma in the past, but how communities value different resources and other community members.
Samantha Murphy is a graduate student at University of Colorado-Denver, who will be finishing up her Master’s degree in the Spring. She received her undergraduate degree in Archaeology at Clemson University in South Carolina. She has enjoyed working all over the United States, but is excited to focus on her research passion, Bioarchaeology in Pre-Contact Peru and Bolivia.
January 10 at 7 PM MST, General Meeting (Virtual Meeting)
BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK’S MARITIME HERITAGE TRAIL, FLORIDA
Speaker: Athena Van Overschelde
Athena Van Overschelde is a Master's graduate from the University of Miami. She is a maritime archaeologist who will be speaking to us about her work on the Maritime Heritage Trail's archaeological sites in Biscayne National Park, Florida. She has recently moved from Florida to South Carolina where she is working with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.
"Biscayne National Park’s (BISC) Maritime Heritage Trail includes the archaeological remains of six historic shipwreck sites that are open to the public and actively interpreted. Until recently, only limited research on the sites had been completed, making their accurate interpretation a challenge. Between 2019 and 2020, in conjunction with a larger documentation effort to record damages to the sites associated with Hurricane Irma in 2017, BISC partnered with the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center to combine the results of more extensive historic research with recently acquired 3D imagery of the sites into an ArcGIS StoryMap to create an immersive and interactive experience available to the public online. This effort specifically sought to utilize emerging technologies to create a means to provide accurate interpretive material for the heritage trail to a wider audience, including non-divers, those participating in digital interpretation programs, or even those practicing social distancing."