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Fieldwork 2016

In August 2016 we began the first non-invasive phase of work at the site with permission from the City of Golden. The City of Golden now owns all the land that encompasses the site, so there are new opportunities to investigate in areas that were previously privately owned during the last project in the 1990s. Since the 1990s there have also been huge advances in technology in archaeology. This first phase consisted of UAV photogrammetry to create 3D topographic maps and geophysical surveys (ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetometry) to understand what lies below the ground. Magnetometry detects subtle changes in the magnetic properties of the soil. Areas that were burned or disturbed in the past will have different properties from the surrounding matrix. Ground-penetrating radar is a technique that uses electromagnetic energy to map features and structures below the surface in three dimensions. Both of these techniques are non-invasive and ideal for understanding large areas in a short amount of time. The results of these surveys indicate that there are likely many cultural features still intact at this site. Signatures produced by these likely features are what we investigated through excavation in June, 2017.

Project Overview

Nestled in the foothills along Lena Gulch in Golden, CO, Magic Mountain is proclaimed to be one of the most important archaeological sites on Colorado’s Front Range.

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Fieldwork 2017

In June 2017, we returned to the site to excavate areas of interest identified in our 2016 geophysical surveys and with our goals of better understanding the Early Ceramic Period.

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One of the major goals of this project is to change this by reviving excavation efforts through citizen science project to learn more about this significant site and publish both popular and scholarly literature.

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