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Giving history new life at El Pueblo Archaeological Site
DENVER (April 4, 2017) — One of Colorado’s most significant archaeological sites is being thoroughly investigated, surveyed, and analyzed through a partnership between the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Colorado State University-Pueblo and the History Colorado Office of the State Archaeologist. Together, they are working to rediscover Pueblo’s historic roots at El Pueblo Archaeological Site. The Anthropology section of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology has developed an internship program that puts students in real-life anthropology situations that provide invaluable experience for their future careers.
“This site is incredibly important to our understanding of Colorado history,” State Archaeologist Dr. Holly Norton said. “This site has the potential to reveal a lot of information about life on the multi-ethnic 19th Century American-Mexico borderland. It is even more exciting to have such enthusiastic and dedicated anthropology students helping us identify and interpret the artifacts.”
The project’s current phase involves laboratory analysis of over 100,000 artifacts discovered by Dr. William Buckles during his investigations of the site during the 1990s and 2000s. Future phases will include excavations and additional lab courses for archaeology students.
“From the very beginning of this project, I was thrilled to finally get to have some experience in the field of archaeology,” student Sam Romo said. “I wanted to do something like this since I was in third grade. The coolest part of this project is the idea that we may be the last ones to see some of these artifacts. To me that is cool, but somewhat nerve-racking because we have to be careful with them.”
In addition to learning valuable laboratory skills, the students are leading volunteers from the Colorado Archaeological Society in the analysis at El Pueblo History Museum every Wednesday for the remainder of the semester.
“One of the best ways to really hone your skills and knowledge is by trying to teach it to others,” Chris Johnston, Assistant State Archaeologist and State Coordinator of the Program for Avocational Archaeological Certification (PAAC) at History Colorado said. “This is a great opportunity for students and volunteers alike to really test what they’re learning in the lab.”
“This archaeological investigation is important to our community and all of southern Colorado,” Dawn DiPrince, Director of Community Museums, History Colorado said. “It will help us to better understand the diversity, entrepreneurship, and tragedies of this site, as those themes continue to resonate throughout our region.”
This phase of the project will conclude with the close of the CSU-Pueblo semester the last week of April. Excavations will occur this summer.