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?
I'm adding this post to the following blog events:
Thank you to all the blog hosts!