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Insitu biface, Jefferson County, CO

Please note that due to the pandemic the following meetings will be held online or virtual until further notice.

Nov 15 at 7 PM MST, General Meeting (Virtual Meeting)

Investigating Cache Assemblages in Southeastern Colorado

Thad Swan

Bio: Thad Swan currently serves as the lead archaeologist for Sol Solutions, LLC at Fort Carson, Colorado.  He has 20 years of professional experience as a crew chief and field director.  His research interests are focused on lithic technology and geoarchaeology.  He has participated in various academic-oriented projects in North Dakota, Montana, Southwestern Colorado, Ireland, and Romania.  These projects included excavation of an Agate Basin bison kill, the multi-year excavation of a Basketmaker II/III village, and geophysical investigations at a Roman castrum.  Thad earned a B.A. in Anthropology at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in 1999 and his M.A. at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in Applied Geography in 2019.  His thesis research involved an interdisciplinary approach to the examination of the Owens Cache in southeastern Colorado with a focus towards caching behavior and geomorphology as it r elates to archaeological site interpretation.    

Abstract:  Throughout North America, caches are recognized as an important feature type in prehistoric research. Unlike other site or feature types, the materials associated with these assemblages are not a result of discard, breakage during manufacture, or accidental loss, but represent a rare window into prehistoric toolkits where usable items within various stages of manufacture are stored for future use.  However, many caches have been removed from their original context either through disturbance or discovery by the public, who unwittingly destroy the context of the find.  Other caches simply do not contain datable organics or temporal-cultural diagnostic artifact traits necessary for placement in a chronological framework.  When caches are discovered that retain contextual integrity, these resources are highly regarded for their information potential.  Overall, there are very few cache discoveries reported in Colorado.   Two of these caches are in Southeastern Colorado – the Owens Cache and 5BN156.  Both lithic assemblages offer non-local material types, primarily Alibates agatized dolomite, and varying lithic technological attributes that demonstrate their data potential, particularly for research questions regarding mobility and settlement/subsistence strategies.  Recent investigations of these cache assemblages have provided key insights into a growing database of cache features across the Central and Southern Plains. 

Oct 11, Monday at 7 PM, MST, General Meeting (virtual meeting)

Presenter: Brandi Bethke (Lab Director and Research Faculty, Oklahoma Archeological Survey, University of Oklahoma

 

Presentation Title: Recent Zooarchaeological Investigations at the Boarding School Site (24GL0302), Glacier County, Montana

 

Presentation Summary: This talk will present an analysis of the faunal assemblage recovered from excavations at the Cut Bank Creek Boarding School Site (24GL0302), located in Glacier County, MT. Excavations at the site took place following the inadvertent discovery of a large bone bed unearthed during foundation construction for a new school being built by the Blackfeet Nation on the site. The assemblage represents contexts associated with both the adjacent Late Precontact period bison kill site first excavated by Thomas Kehoe in the 1950s and the later occupation of the site during its use as a boarding school for Blackfeet children in the first half of the twentieth century. Through these remains, this work provides new insight into this continually used landscape.

Bio: Brandi Bethke serves as Laboratory Director and Research Faculty at the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on understanding interactions between humans, animals, and the landscape in the North American Plains from the late Precontact period to the present day through the integration of zooarchaeology, ethnohistory, geospatial modeling, and Indigenous knowledge. She is especially interested in the engagement of Indigenous communities with various forms of colonialism and the long-term consequences of these processes. Her most recent work has involved collaborative projects centered on bison hunting and processing activities, the adoption of horse pastoralism by the Native peoples in the US and Canada, and the survivance of Indigenous cultural practices during the Reservation and Allotment Periods.

September 13, Monday at 7 PM, MST, General Meeting (virtual meeting)

Our speakers this evening will be Kimberly Munro and Mark Korbitz. Their presentation will be Archaeology Along the Chaucaco Creek – 5 LA 22, Medina Site

 

Located in Southeast Colorado, in Las Animas County along the Chaucaco Creek, the Medina Rockshelter was occupied by Native American groups by at least 7000 BCE. Dr. Robert Campbell conducted the first scientific archaeological investigations at Medina in the 1960s. Campbell’s excavations indicated the earliest evidence of human occupation began in the Archaic period (approximately 7000 years ago). In 2019 a team of researchers from Otero College returned to Chaucaco Creek for three weeks to expand on Campbell’s work. Materials from both the original and most recent field work resulted in a number of lithic, faunal, and wooden artifacts, and numerous ecofacts – such as maize, squash, and wild plum seeds. The land where the Medina Site is located was once part of the Nature Conservancy, however in 2021, the ranch was sold to a private landowner. This paper presents the working results of the 2019 field season, and the logistics of navigating further research within the area during and "following" the pandemic shut-down, and change in ranch ownership. 

 

Bios:

Kimberly Munro is an Andean archaeologist with over a decade of experience working in Peru. She is the director of the Cosma Archaeological Project, a long-term research project involving excavation and survey in the Andean central highlands, specifically in the Caceres District of Ancash, Peru.

Kimberly earned a dual B.A. degree in Anthropology and Religious Studies in 2007 from Florida State University and also holds a M.S. in Geography (Geographic Information Sciences) from FSU. She received her PhD in Anthropology from Louisiana State University in 2018. Kimberly currently lives in Colorado, where she teaches Anthropology and Archaeology classes, and co-directs a summer field camp in the canyonlands of Southeast, Colorado through Otero College.

 

Mark Korbitz attended several colleges after high school and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York-Albany with majors in biology, psychology and education.  Mark taught and coached as a K-12 instructor in small school districts in Colorado for over 17 years.  He earned a Master of Science degree in Physical Geography in 2000 and subsequently worked in homeland security for a dozen years after 2001.  During these years of service with the government, he attended the intelligence analysis school at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, earned a certificate in counterterrorism from St. Andrew’s University, Scotland, and traveled extensively, completing, then providing, trainings for first responders.  Previous research projects include field raptor biology, archaeological field surveys, risk analysis and communication.  Mark’s interests since undergraduate school include astrophysics, early humans in North America, art, outdoor activities, orthodox Christianity, and making stringed musical instruments.  He now teaches earth and space science at Otero College in La Junta, Colorado.  The focus of his current research is Triassic paleontology, prehistoric archaeology/musical instrument construction, as well as astronomy.  He and his wife are the parents of four grown children and they have nineteen grandchildren. 

May 10, Monday at 7 PM, MST, General Meeting (virtual meeting)

Our speaker this evening is Maxine McBrinn.  Her presentation is entitled, Oblique Views: Landscape, Archaeology, and Time as Photographed by Charles and Anne Morrow Lindberg and Adriel Heisey.

Maxine E. McBrinn, PhD, is an independent researcher and retired museum curator. She specializes in the US Southwest, and is especially interested in hunters and gatherers and in ancient textiles and stone tools. She is co-author of Archaeology of the Southwest, Third Edition, and has published numerous other articles, book chapters, and books. She curated "Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography, and Time" at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, NM and edited the exhibition catalog.

In 1929, Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh flew over the US Southwest as they made their way west to California for the launch of a new airline offering passenger service in the US. Along the way, in response to a request from A.V. Kidder, they photographed modern towns, pueblos and other American Indian reservations, geological features, and archaeological sites. In the 2000s, Adriel Heisey, a renowned contemporary aerial photographer, photographed some of the same towns and sites from the same perspectives. The results illuminate how time and our decisions about how to manage landscapes have, or have not, changed these iconic places. Sites in Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly are among those examined.

April 19, Monday at 7 PM, MST, General Meeting (virtual meeting)

Our speaker this evening is Professor Jim Allison, Department of Anthropology, BYU.

His presentation is entitled, Community Organization in the Greater Southwest

 

Ancient farmers across the greater Southwest lived in communities that differ greatly in size, settlement layout, social organization, and other characteristics. Some of these farmers lived in small settlements comprising one or a few families, which often clustered around apparent community centers. In other times and placers, households aggregated into villages, often with evidence for innovations in social and ritual institutions. This presentation will explore the variation in community organization across the northern Southwest, drawing on examples from the Mesa Verde, Fremont, and Virgin regions.

About our speaker

 

James R. Allison’s archaeological career began in 1984, when he participated in the Brigham Young University archaeological field school in southeastern Utah. After obtaining an MA degree from BYU, he obtained a PhD from Arizona State University in 2000. In 2004 he returned to BYU where he is now Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology. In addition to working in southeast Utah, he has directed major research project in the Fremont and Virgin regions, on the northern and western frontiers of the greater Southwest, with a focus on understanding the social and economic organization of ancient farmers and the historical forces that shaped their societies.

Mar 8, Monday at 7 PM, MST, General Meeting (virtual meeting)

Our speaker this evening is Dr. Christopher I. RoosProfessor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University

His presentation is entitled Native American Fire Management at an Ancient Wildland-Urban Interface in the Southwest US

Abstract
The intersection of expanding human development and wildland landscapes – the ‘wildland-urban interface’ or WUI – is one of the most vexing contexts for fire management because it involves complex interacting systems of people and nature. With an interdisciplinary team, Professor Christopher Roos documents the dynamism and stability of an ancient WUI that was apparently sustainable for more than 500 years. He combines ethnography, archaeology, paleoecology, and ecological modeling to infer intensive wood and fire use by Native American ancestors of Jemez Pueblo and the consequences on fire size, fire-climate relationships, and fire intensity. Initial settlement of northern New Mexico by Jemez farmers increased fire activity within an already dynamic landscape that experienced frequent fires. Wood harvesting for domestic fuel and architectural uses and abundant, small, patchy fires created a landscape that burnt often but only rarely burned extensively. Depopulation of the forested landscape due to Spanish colonial impacts resulted in a rebound of fuels accompanied by the return of widely spreading, frequent surface fires. The sequence of more than 500 years of perennial small fires and wood collecting followed by frequent ‘free range’ wildland surface fires made the landscape resistant to extreme fire behavior, even when climate was conducive and surface fires were large. The ancient Jemez WUI offers an alternative model for fire management in modern WUI in the western US, and possibly other settings where local management of woody fuels through use (domestic wood collecting) coupled with small prescribed fires may make these communities both self-reliant and more resilient to wildfire hazards.

 

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Photo by Ignacio Peralta

Photo by Kacy Hollenback

2003 Encebado fire, Taos Pueblo,NM

Prof Roos in Jemez Mtns, NM

Bio:

Dr. Christopher I. Roos is an environmental archaeologist and Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University. He received his MA and PhD from the University of Arizona (2002 and 2008) and his BA from the University of Cincinnati (2000). For more than a decade, Dr. Roos has been directing interdisciplinary research projects on the long-term interactions of human societies, climate, and wildfire in the Southwest USA. He has published more than 30 scientific papers, received more than $2 million in research awards, and was named a Kavli Fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2016.

Feb 8, Monday at 7 PM, MST, General Meeting (virtual meeting)

Our speaker this evening is Edward R. Henry, (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology & Geography, Colorado State University)

Presentation Title:  Ritual Dispositions, Adena and Hopewell Enclosures, and the Passing of Time: A Monumental Biography of a Small Middle Woodland Enclosure in Central Kentucky, USA

 

Presentation Summary:

Adena and Hopewell geometric enclosures have inspired much conversation concerning the nature of Middle Woodland ceremonialism in the Eastern Woodlands of the United States. However, rarely are the full biographies of these sites realized. Recent research at the Winchester Farm enclosure provided the data necessary to develop a long-term biographical perspective on site construction, use, and abandonment. In this presentation, I discuss this research and use it to argue the enclosure was built around a central multi-use feature that had been used by Middle Woodland Adena and Hopewell societies for ceremonial gatherings before it was built. I also discuss how it was later ritually ‘closed’ through the intentional refilling of the ditch. The site biography I present details the ways Adena and Hopewell ceremonialism occurred at this monument and facilitated the flow of objects, people, and ideas through the region.

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Winchester 

Farm

Presenter Bio:

Edward Henry is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Colorado State University (CSU). As an archaeological anthropologist he is interested in the ways societies shaped, and were shaped by, the landscapes they inhabited. Ed's research is primarily focused on eastern North America, where he employs methods from geophysics, geoarchaeology, and chronological modeling to examine the interconnectedness of pre-Contact Native American landscape modification and interaction within the social, economic, and political institutions of small-scale societies. At CSU, he also serves as founder and director of the CRAG (Center for Research in Archaeogeophysics and Geoarchaeology)