DENVER — The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is giving people the chance to step into the shoes of an archaeologist and go digging for Colorado history. After taking a break for the holiday, public tours and digs return July 5-13 at Magic Mountain, located near Apex Park just outside of Golden.
“You'll learn a lot about the history of the archaeology of the site, the history of the people who used the site and then some of the techniques archaeologists used to answer these questions,” said Michele Koons, Curator of Archaeology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
The museum is offering free public tours and excavation opportunities with professional archaeologists. Koons and her team will continue excavating a little piece of land on Magic Mountain, hopeful that, buried beneath the surface, are clues about who lived here and how long ago.
“This, Apex trail, used to be one of the main routes up into the mountains and to the mining camps and also was used in the past because that's part of the reason the site is here," Koons said.
The museum began excavating the site in 2017, and said it focused on areas identified in geophysical surveys. Two previous excavations in the 1950s and 1990s turned up evidence from the past 7,000 years. The research team is working to understand mobility patterns, seasonal use, and site activities during the early Ceramic Period (200-1000 CE).
“We'll have the exact coordinate because of the grid and then they'll dig down and start finding some dark soil, some ash and charcoal and voila, a hearth, “ said archaeologist Ken Kvamme.
The evidence will go back to the museum, where it will be cleaned, sorted, catalogued and analyzed. The tours are made possible by a grant from the History Colorado State Historical Society.