• Anthropology
    Global Perspectives: Anthropology

    Carrying On Discoveries

    Lee University archaeology students continued an ongoing excavation of Eagle Rock Shelter in Colorado in May and July of 2015. Seven students participated under the leadership of Dr. Murl Dirksen including Abby Woodson, Katie Harris, Christina Alexanderson, Emma Leigh Evors, Georgia Wright, and Abigail Christopher. These students sustained a rigorous and groundbreaking study that started in 2007. According to the Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction Colorado, “this well-visited conservation area has yielded what “may be one of the most important archaeological sites in North America in terms of the extent of Paleo-Indian occupation.”

    Since 2007, an active research project has been undertaken at the Eagle Rock Shelter with principle investigator, Dr. Dudley Gardner, a Lee alumnus, under contract with the Bureau of Land Management. This site has become a very significant excavation for the State of Colorado and only professional archaeologists and students from Lee, Yale, University of South Africa, University of New Zealand and Western Wyoming College are allow to work the site.

    Among their discoveries, the earliest C-14 dates from the site are coming in at about 12,000 B.C.E. making it the oldest rock shelter in North America to have continual occupancy until 1500 A.D. Thus far, 53 fire hearths have been uncovered allowing for a detailed chronology of occupation and settlement.

    Dr. Dirksen encourages his students to, “experience excavating cultural material firsthand so they can learn the skills and methods of archaeology. The things they learn about environmental adaptation and cultural resources in an arid climate like that of the Southwest will be useful to them in whatever career choice they make.”

    This project was made possible in part by a Faculty Research Grant through Lee’s President’s Office. For further information about anthropology or archaeology, contact Dr. Richard Jones or Dr. Murl Dirksen at Lee, 423 614-8000.

    by Kaitlin Andrews 

    #LeeExperience #LeeU