Schedule and Speakers

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Early Registration at History Colorado
PAAC Class – Artifact Illustration with Steve E. Cassels at History Colorado Center
Lamb Springs tour (details to come)
CAS Board Meeting and Dinner 6pm- 9pm

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

9am – 5:30pm: Speakers and lunch
6pm – 9pm: Banquet with keynote from Michael Waters

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Behind the scenes tour at DMNS with Steve Nash (details to come)
Whetherill Collection at History Colorado (details to come)

Speaker bios



Abstract: Archaeological and genetic evidence accumulated over the last few decades show that the 80-year-old Clovis First model no longer explains the exploration and settlement of the Americas by humans at the end of the last Ice Age. Evidence from archaeological sites in North and South America are providing empirical evidence that people occupied the Americas by 15,000 years ago. Studies of modern and ancient genomes confirm this age estimate and tell us who these people were and where they came from. This archaeological and genetic evidence is
rewriting our understanding of the First Americans.

Biography: Michael Waters is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University. He is known for his expertise in First American studies and geoarchaeology. He has authored or co-authored numerous journal articles and book chapters and is the author of “Principles of Geoarchaeology: A North American Perspective” and other volumes.



Abstract: In 1923, Jean Jeancon and Oliver Ricketson collected tree-ring specimens at Cliff Palace, Spruce Tree House, and Square Tower House in Mesa Verde National Park as part of the National Georgraphic Society’s First Beam Expedition that attempted to use tree-ring dating to accurately and precisely date archaeological sites for the first time. In the 96 years since their initial foray, a tremendous amount of tree-ring research has occurred in southwestern Colorado, which has become one of the best places in the world for dendrochronological analysis. This paper surveys the state of tree-ring analysis as of 2017

Biography: Steve Nash is Curator of Archaeology and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where he has worked for the last eleven years. He is currently studying the Mogollon archaeology of southwestern New Mexico. He has written and edited seven books, the most recent of which is Stories in Stone: The Enchanted Gem Carvings of Vasily Konovalenko. He has conducted archaeological research all over the world, including at Neanderthal sites in France and at Mesa Verde National Park. From 1999 to 2006 he served as head of collections in the Department of Anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago.



Abstract: My talk will focus on recent fieldwork and community outreach at Magic Mountain in Golden, CO. I will also discuss the processing/ cataloging of the extant museum collections from the site.

Biography: Dr. Michele Koons is the Curator of Archaeology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. She studies ancient complex societies and is especially interested in ancient political dynamics, social networks, and how people of the past interacted with their environment. In her research, Dr. Koons uses geophysical methods and remote sensing tools, as well as traditional archaeological techniques like excavation and pedestrian survey. She also specializes in ceramic analysis and radiocarbon dating. Michele has conducted archaeological research throughout the United States, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and China. She is currently co-directing a project in the Mogollon Highlands of New Mexico investigating the impact the changing physical and cultural environment had on population dynamics through time. She is also co-directing a project at the hunter-gatherer camp site of Magic Mountain in Golden,
CO. Michele has a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, a MA from the University of Denver, and a PhD from Harvard University.



Abstract: Chipeta Chapter of CAS is currently documenting projectile points from private collections, similar to the APDAR project done by several chapters in the 1980’s. The project is documenting projectile points found in the area extending east-west from Blue Mesa Reservoir
to the Utah border and north-south from Whitewater (near Grand Junction) to Ouray, roughly an area of 8000 sq. mi. This database of photographs, measurements, and other supporting information will be archived at History Colorado and be available for future research. This
presentation by Neil Hauser, principal investigator, will provide more details on the documentation being done, some examples, and some observations to date. Hopefully this project can be extended by the participation of other CAS chapters to cover other parts of Colorado.

Biography: Neil Hauser is principal investigator for the Projectile Point Project (P3) currently underway by the Chipeta Chapter of CAS. He obtained his masters in archaeology from UC Denver in 2008, his BA in Physics from University of Denver (74) and MS in Electrical Engineering from CU-Boulder (77). He also spent the last 40 years as an engineer in the aerospace/defense industry. In addition to the current Project Point Project, he is working on a project to date stream terraces on the Uncompahgre Plateau to improve archaeological site discovery. Previously, he was principal investigator of the Blackfoot Cave Site, participated in an NSF grant to use optical stimulated luminescence (OSL) to date exposed surfaces, and worked with laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to source lithic and ceramic materials. He has presented previous work at SAA (Society of American Archaeology), CCPA meetings, and various CAS meetings.


How Consequential was the Introduction of the Bow and Arrow for Hunter-Gatherers in the San Luis Valley?

Abstract: The rapid and nearly universal adoption of the bow and arrow in North America after 2000 B.P. surely indicates that it offered some sort of immediate advantage over the atlatl and dart, a technology that had been in use for millennia. And yet archaeologists have debated for more than a century why the bow spread so quickly to so many different environments and why it took place at that specific time. Recent debate has also explored the long-term economic and social impacts of the bow on subsistence practices, settlement systems, social complexity, and warfare. This paper extends that discussion to the San Luis Valley by examining settlement patterns and mobility strategies before and after the advent of the bow.

Biography: Dr. Mark D. Mitchell is the research director for Paleocultural Research Group (PCRG), a nonprofit organization that conducts scientific research, trains students, and educates the public on the archaeology and paleoecology of the Great Plains and Southern Rocky Mountains. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his M.A. from the University of Colorado at Denver. Previously, he worked for several cultural resource management firms and for the USDA Forest Service in Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas. Mitchell’s primary research focuses on the archaeology of the Northern Great Plains. He also studies the American Indian archaeology of the Colorado high country as well as historic American Indian art, the anthropology of technology, and the history of archaeology. His research has appeared in Quaternary International, Plains Anthropologist, Antiquity, American Antiquity, Southwestern Lore, Colorado Archaeology, and in a number of book chapters. He is the author of Crafting History in the Northern Plains: A Political Economy of the Heart River Region, 1400-1750 (University of Arizona Press, 2013) and co-editor of Across a Great Divide: Continuity and Change in Native North American Societies, 1400–1900 (University of Arizona Press, 2010).



Biography: Chip Colwell is Senior Curator of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He has published 10 books, most recently Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture (University of Chicago Press). His work has been highlighted in such venues as the New York Times, The Guardian, Salon, and Slate. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of, an online magazine about anthropological thinking and discoveries.


Preliminary Results of the 2017 PCRG-PAAC Summer Survey along the Rio Grande in the Southern San Luis Valley
Chris Johnston, History Colorado
Amy Nelson, Paleocultural Research Group
Britni Rockwell, Paleocultural Research Group
Mark Mitchell, Paleocultural Research Group

Abstract: For 16 days in July 2017, over 50 volunteers along with Paleocultural Research Group (PCRG) and History Colorado staff participated in a summer research and training survey near the town of Antonito along the CO-NM border. The research team surveyed 334 acres of federal and state lands along the Rio Grande, documenting 60 new resources (28 archaeological sites and 32 isolated finds) and revisiting six previously documented sites. New sites ranged from Folsom to twentieth century occupations. Two of the previously recorded sites were tested and one newly recorded site was excavated to salvage four hearth features. Additionally, dedicated rock art crews recorded 57 separate panels at three different sites. This paper will discuss in more detail some preliminary results of this project and directions for moving forward.

Biography: Chris Johnston is the Assistant State Archaeologist of Colorado. He is formerly a Project Archaeologist and Lab Supervisor for Paleocultural Research Group in Broomfield and a Project Archaeologist for the Center for Mountain and Plains Archaeology, Colorado State University. He received his MA from CSU where he conducted research on communal bison hunting at the Roberts Buffalo Jump (5LR100), and his BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has worked on a variety of field and lab projects across Colorado and the greater Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. He has also worked in CRM and for the Forest Service as an archaeologist.


Aviation Archaeology in Cultural Resource Management

Abstract: La Junta Airport
La Junta, Colorado
– La Junta Airport: American Legion Field
– La Junta Army Airfield
– La Junta Airport Today
A summary our Historic and Architectural Survey to include:
Cataloguing, collecting photographic documentation, and measurements of Structures (Buildings & Runways), Aerial Navigation Systems, and related airfield perimeter crash sites.

The presentation will conclude with an assortment of other associated project sites in our studies of Aerospace Cultural Resources.

Biography: Larry is a member of the Colorado Aviation Historical Society where he is an Imagery Analysis Instructor and Analyst for its Aviation and Aerospace Archaeology Program. He specializes in the study of airfields and early aerial navigation systems.

Larry has given presentations at National and International Aviation Archaeology Conferences, as well as local aviation and Geospatial venues. He has 9 years with the Department of Defense as an imagery analyst working the Soviet Naval problem in Indications & Warning and Scientific & Technical analysis, as well as various global crises as they erupt around the globe.

He is a graduate of Lowry Air Force Base Photo Intel School, Defense Sensor Interpretation and Applications Training Program (DSIATP) at Offutt Air Force Base, and Advanced Sensor Training at National Photographic Interpretation Center in Washington, D.C.

Larry earned a Bachelors Degree from the University of Maryland in Behavioral Science with a concentration in International Studies and taking course work in Anthropology and Archaeology. He also has a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Denver.

Supplementing his military experience is 25 years utilizing imagery and GIS technology to analyze real estate.

Larry’s past volunteer work includes: Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, History Flight, and the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. augmenting his research, analysis and presentation of Aviation and Aerospace Archaeology topics.


Abstract: Zachary Cooper is a Master’s student in Archaeology at the University of Colorado Boulder. His geographical region of specialization is the US Southwest and his research interests include prehistoric migration, historical linguistics, and ethnogenesis. More specifically, he is interested in researching the impact of migration on the establishment of multi-ethnic, multi-lingual communities through time and space.
Biography: The topic of Zach’s talk will relate to his thesis research on Tanoan language diversification and the evidence for a tenth century migration of (presumably) Proto-Tiwa speakers from the Upper San Juan region into the Northern Rio Grande.

Title: Fragments of Identity: A Comparative Study of Formative Period Figurines in Coastal Oaxaca, Mexico
Biography: Rachael Wedemeyer is a current undergraduate student at CU Boulder conducting research under the advisement of Arthur A. Joyce. The majority of her archaeological experience has been working at the site of Cerro de la Virgen on the coast of Oaxaca with CU Boulder Ph.D student Jeffrey Brzezinski. Her talk will detail the status of her personal research of comparing terminal formative period (150BCE-250CE) figurines from the sites of Rio Viejo and Cerro de la Virgen.

Abstract: My topic of my talk is the transformation of iconography on Pueblo vessels during the initial Spanish contact.
Biography: Heather Seltzer is an archaeology MA student at University of Colorado Boulder and is interested in the archaeology of colonial encounters and response among the Rio Grande Pueblos. Heather’s master’s thesis compares trends in ceramic iconography from Rio Grande Pueblos from the thirteenth through eighteenth century and analyzes how Pueblo people maintained an active resistance and cultural revitalization in response to Spanish colonization.