DENVER (CBS4)– Archaeologists have unearthed artifacts thousands of years old in Golden, and they’re asking the public to help them find more.
The historical digs are happening on Magic Mountain not far from Heritage Square Amusement Park. Researchers with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Paleocultural Research Group have teamed up with volunteers to discover hidden items, including tools, fireplaces, even homes.
“We know people lived here going back 7,000 years and right now the excavations we’re doing, we’re hitting about 1,500 to 1,000 years ago,” Dr. Michele Koons, Curator of Archaeology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, said. “The people who lived here were mobile hunter-gatherers. We think this may have been a winter camp.”
Koons explained the area has been known to archaeologists for years, but was private property until a few years ago. That opened up the doors for researchers to begin studying the area more closely.
“We have accounts from the 1860s of people coming over here and finding artifacts on the surface,” Koons told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “There were formal excavations in the 1950s which defined archaeology for this region. We’ve had so many advances in technology over the last 25 years that we’ve decided to come back.”
Using geophysical technology, archaeologists were able to map what may be lying beneath the surface. What they are finding could provide significant clues to what life was like centuries ago.
“We found this huge basin that would’ve been used for grinding vegetable material and we can do pollen analysis to try and understand what they were eating,” Koons said. “That helps us do some reconstructions of the environment.”
What is perhaps most exciting, Koons added, is that the public is invited to help dig for hidden clues… for free.
“We’ve had kids find arrowheads and pieces of ceramic,” she said. “It’s been really, really exciting.”
This next week will wrap up the month-long dig before the items recovered are analyzed at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The hope is more families will join in on the historical experience.
“It’s so great to be able to bring this to the community,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do in the lab later this month and there may be opportunity for people to come help us clean the artifacts.”
Public tours of the Magic Mountain dig resume Monday morning at 9 a.m.
LINK: Magic Mountain Dig Tours
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 This Morning over the weekend and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.