Sunday, August 24, 2014

Digging Up the Past!



One wonderful activity my husband and I partook in this summer took place in Douglas County. We enjoyed driving south east through the high plains under the deep blue Colorado sky.  Even though we were on fairly flat ground, the altitude was close to 7,000 feet high!  All the while as we were driving we had a view of the Rocky Mountain range in the distance.  (All photos in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)


We then headed even further east, away from this majestic view of Pike's Peak.


We pulled into a parking lot where we waited until we were met by an SUV, that led us to a secret location.



Our destination?  It was an archaeological dig being conducted by the Colorado Archaeological Society (CAS).  We were invited to see the dig site by the historical society in our community, of which we are members. The CAS has an interest in the history and pre-history of humans in Colorado and were conducting this dig in a site that they knew had a deep history of being used by prehistoric people, Native Americans and early Spanish and American explorers to this land. The reason the site was basically being kept a secret is that they plan on returning it to its natural state when they are finished with their exploration.


This area was also the site of an early pioneer homesteads, primarily for two reasons. One of which was that there was a water source nearby, as you can see by this old pump house still pulling water from the ground....


...and secondly, because there was a rock cave shelter nearby. If you look closely at the photo above you can see how one of the last tenants of a farmhouse on this land closed up a portion of the rock cave entrance with bricks and a wooden slat door in the middle.  He probably used the cave as a storage space for food and other supplies.


A view inside the cave.

Native Americans also used caves such as this as shelter, as well as past explorers to this land.


Artifacts from these past peoples were in the process of being found by the archaeological team.  Knowing that there would have been camp areas around the cave, they dug deep trenches in various positions in front of it.


All the dirt that was removed from the trenches was carefully sorted through screens, such as this one, and anything significant is removed for examination.


Pieces of petrified wood were discovered....


...as well as spear heads, arrowheads, ancient awls, bones, and pieces of cooking tools and other hunting weapons.


It takes a trained eye to identify the artifacts as being important! The CAS has been conducting the dig for months, and uses radio carbon assays to date the artifacts. One of the earliest artifacts found was a spear head that dated from 8,000 years ago!  My husband and I found it so fascinating to watch the work being done and see some of the discoveries of the day.  We hope to become members of the CAS one day to learn more about Colorado's rich prehistoric and historic past and to volunteer for future digs.


Before we left the dig site I took some photos of the wildflowers in the area.  If you look closely at the photo bottom left, you can see that there was a creepy crawly bug on one! I did not see that until I enlarged the photograph--I'm not sure what it is but it has a thick brown body and very long legs!  I'm glad it did not jump up on me at the time, or my camera would have also become history! (smile) Does anyone have any idea of what it is?

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55 comments:

Pamela Gordon said...

Hi Pat, this would be so interesting to do! It's something that intrigues me - digging for history in the ground - and is something I've always wanted to do. Lucky you! Your state is so beautiful. I am always amazed at all the beautiful photos you share of the mountains, rock formations etc. The wild flowers are so pretty too. Enjoy the week. Pam

podso said...

That is quite an adventure. I didn't know you could visit such a thing, but it sounds like it was a bit secretive, as you say. Your photos are wonderful.

The Gathering Place said...

You always find such interesting things to do/places to visit. What fun helping discover history.

eileeninmd said...

Pat, what an interesting adventure and so secretive! I am sure it was neat to see some of the new found items.. The wildflowers and mountains views are lovely too. Great post, thanks for sharing. Have a happy week!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Beautiful part of country. I can understand their wanting to keep the location quiet. Unfortunately there are those that would go into areas like that and do damage.

Cathy said...

Great post Pat. I hope you are able to do more of the same. I know it`s fun and to hold history in your hands is beyond words.

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

I had been feeling bad because I missed an opportunity to go on 'a dig' in Greece this summer. . .it hadn't occurred to me that I might have opportunities closer to home. An interesting post!

Barb said...

How interesting, Pat! I see there were Prickly Pear flowering so it must be hot there!

From the Kitchen said...

Oh, the sky photos!! Beautiful. And, what an interesting excursion. Love the wildflowers as well.

Best,
Bonnie

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Beautiful scenery and sky shots to start off with and then so much interesting info & photos afterwards...great post / always enjoy visiting you! :)

ellen b. said...

Beautiful photos of your adventure. What a fun thing to do...

Michelle said...

You have the best adventures. I would have loved to visit this site!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

What an amazing adventure as members of your historical society! Thanks for sharing the photos, I was busy looking at every detail in them as an archaeological dig would be of interest to me as well.
Just south of us they were rerouting one of the country roads and found evidence of a native site of some sort and the work halted until the dig was complete.
Thanks for linking to MM Pat.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How interesting! And I zoomed in on the photo to see what you were talking about. Years ago, when we lived in Northern NM we had a spindly grasshopper kind of cricket! lol I never knew exactly what it was but it looked like what you saw! Hugs!

Grantham Lynn said...

Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed living in Colo. for a few months. There was so much to do. Especially seeing all the beauty.

Karen said...

Beautiful scenery and what a great adventure!

Gayle said...

The scenery is beautiful, so open and free. I enjoyed my visit today!

Rajesh said...

Fantastic drive with so much to see on the way.

lessandragr said...

What a wonderful day you and your husband must have had! Excitement, sereneness, adventure and beauty. I didn't realize Colorado had such beautiful skies! The bug on the flower looks like it could be a spider.

Ola said...

breathtaking views!

Valerie said...

A fascinating post, Pat - thanks for sharing.

Hannah said...

Beautiful Colorado blue skies, and what an adventure, visiting the archaeological site and cave. I used to go on lots of field trips as a college student, now I am too busy with my garden. The brown thing looks like a daddy long-legs to me. They are arachnids but not spiders, and don't have fangs so can't bite.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

The scenery is so magnificent there I would find it hard to drive, but fortunately I'm usually the passenger and get to see everything. What a fun way to spend the day. I am fascinated with pioneers and history. Both of my great-grandparents were pioneers, one from Germany to Kansas after the Civil War, and the other to the Arkansas Territory in the early 1800's. It's just amazing how resourceful they were and how they lived.
Sam

Lina Gustina said...

Wow, it must be a great experience and adventure. Enjoying your post a lot.

www.1sthappyfamily.com/2014/08/sellers-around-mountain.html

gracieplace said...

What an interesting and unusual experience! thanks for sharing.

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

I did enlarge your floral pictures in order to find the bug. I found him! You didn't mention the bumble bees in the upper right corner picture.

Love the blue sky. Isn’t it fun finding blue?

Happy Blue Monday!

Annesphamily said...

A fun adventure to end the summer! My husband works with an attorney who is a member of the Colorado Historical Society and he shares some wonderful stories.
I tried to visit you from Blue Monday but I was stopped saying a threat was here. Odd what happens with all this technology. SO I came back through your blog and here I am! Enjoy the week and thanks for sharing. Hugs, Anne

Vee said...

Interesting! Were you allowed to participate beyond looking?

My best guess is that your camouflaged fellow is an arachnid since I can count four legs on one side and am assuming there are four on the left side as well. He certainly fits right in.

Gigi Harlan said...

How very interesting to be able to watch a dig in progress! I have always found items from our history to be fascinating!

Betsy Adams said...

How interesting --and I'm sure you enjoyed every minute of it... I love history --and seeing archaeological digs like that.

My 9th great grandfather use to live in the area where William and Mary College is (Williamsburg).. In fact, he gave some of his land for them to build the college. Someone found (through doing a dig) what used to be his old someplace... SO exciting.

Hugs,
Betsy

Jeanne said...

Hi Pat, Your wonderful adventures are so interesting. This one is the top of my favorite list. How exciting and mysterious. I love reading your posts.

I try not to see creepy crawly things. Yikes! Love the wild flowers as well.

Happy exploring in the awesome state you love.
xo, Jeanne

LV said...

One of the best states for a grand vacation.

Lorrie said...

What a fascinating outing. I've always been interested in archaeology and admire those with the patience to dig through the past. There's so much to learn from history.

Donna said...

How absolutely marvelous to be invited to a dig...my dream!

Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla said...

My kids would love to do something like that! Great pictures!

Marie said...

Love this post! How exciting to get to see the dig. I would love to do that! I am so happy you were able to get photos inside the cave, as well as around the grounds. I have always been so interested in prehistoric peoples and early N American history. Love this!

How wonderful that you too went up to Mt. Evans recently! We can't wait to post those pictures. It was a delightful part of our trip!

Ida said...

What a cool thing for you to be able to participate in. It sounds exciting, interesting and educational. Your photos were wonderful and like someone else mentioned the insect looks a lot like a Daddy Long Leg Spider. They are harmless and actually eat other nuisance bugs.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

That looks very interesting to me and a lot of hard work.

ladyfi said...

That scenery is marvellous!

Barbara said...

Regarding the creepy crawler bug, my guess is a Brown Recluse Spider. If it was, then you want absolutely nothing to do with it. It's bite can eat away at your skin.

I enjoyed this post. You do the most interesting things!

Poppy said...

Hi Pat,

So enjoyed this post for its pictorial journey to a mysterious venue of intrigue and wonder! So much to discover, still, in our spectacular world!

Poppy

My Little Home and Garden said...

I've not had the opportunity to visit an actual archeological dig site. It mus be fascinating!

-Karen

Joyful said...

Fantastic scenery. The dig looks so interesting.

By the way I noticed your lovely Buddy Bo. What kind of cat was he? He reminds me so much of my cat who passed years before. xx

toby said...

Wow, that is so cool! I always wanted to be an archaeologist...
Thanks for sharing this with us!!

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Beautiful Photos and so interesting!!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Hugs,
Debbie

Chatelaine said...

How fantastic to go on a dig! To be around such history and discover life from long ago.

What an opportunity!

Felicia said...

what an interesting adventure you must have had. love your images and the flowers are pretty. can't tell what the bug is....just a bug. lol

Ciao Chow Linda said...

How fascinating to have been able to do this Pat. I love all your photos, but the ones with the beautiful blue skies and white clouds are breathtaking.

Massimo said...

Hallo Pat,
WoW... I really would love to drive in that County and see the beautiful America ! every single corner of this Country is magic for me..

Claudia said...

I took an archaeology course in college and went on a dig of an old colonial site on Staten Island. Amazing what we found. I see this in your future. It's all just fascinating.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This is soooooooo neat. Pat! I love digs. The do them here hen they do additions to houses or buildings in the historic district,

Loved seeing these beautiful sky shots. WOW!

Have been MIA but am stepping my toe back in the blogging pool before sumner's end.

xo

Sheila :-)

Heather said...

What a cool experience! I visited The Mammoth Site in South Dakota, an in situ dig site, many years back, and was amazed at the process and all they have found (and continue to find) there. I'm sure this will be something you'll remember and talk about for some time! ☺ My Skies

Hazel Ceej said...

Interesting shots. The third one is my fave. It looks idyllic. This post reminded me of John Denver's 'rocky mountain high Colorado.' :)

fredamans said...

Lovely country clouds!

Yvette said...

Wait. You have a grand-dog named Maurizio? HA!

Another wonderful post, Pat. I'd join in the dig too if I lived in your neck of the woods. What an interesting way to spend the day, digging for the past.
Did you feel even a little bit like Indiana Jones? :)