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Project Overview

Nestled in the foothills along Apex Gulch in Golden, CO, Magic Mountain is proclaimed to be one of the most important archaeological sites on Colorado’s Front Range. The earliest artifacts found thus far date back to 7,000 years ago., when the site would have served as camping grounds for mobile hunter-gatherer groups passing through the region. It is quite possible that even earlier artifacts dating to the Paleoindian period are buried at the site.  Later remains, such as ceramics and stone structures, indicate that through time it became a semi-permanent residence that was inhabited until at least 1000 years ago. Magic Mountain was excavated twice in the past; first, by Cynthia Irwin-Williams, a PhD student at Harvard University in the 1950s, and second by the cultural resource management firm Centennial Archaeology, Inc. in the 1990s. In 2016 DMNS and Paleocultural Research Group (PCRG) (paleocultural.org) initiated a new round of work utilizing new technology and through a community-based effort. Our goals are to better understand the Early Ceramic Period (200-1000 A.D.), which is when people were living in semi-permanent structures, using ceramics, and generally settled down for extended parts of the year. We are interested in further exploring the mobility patterns of these people throughout the mountains and plains, seasons and time-frames of use of this site, and activities performed around the site during this time.

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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Outreach

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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