Estes Park Museum Online Archaeology Program

On Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. join Colorado State University Archaeologist, Dr. Jason LaBelle via Zoom as he presents, The First Ascent: Ten Thousand Years of Native American Occupation in the Colorado Mountains. The program will take place via Zoom (no registration required) and audience members will have the opportunity to interact virtually with Dr. LaBelle via a question and answer chat box. To attend the program, click here:

Joining 5-10 minutes early is encouraged and panelists will be available to answer questions before the presentation. Questions about Zoom? Visit the Zoom support page beforehand to better understand this platform as staff will not be able to troubleshoot technological questions during the program.

The Southern Rocky Mountains are known for their jagged peaks, frigid lakes, and abundant wildlife. While many modern residents view the alpine country as wilderness and untrammeled by humanity, archaeological research provides a different narrative. Over 2000 prehistoric sites are known from Colorado at elevations greater than 10,000 feet. Rather than suggesting the mountains as a barrier, this instead demonstrates that the highlands played a significant role within the lives of ancient Native Americans. For instance, communal hunting of large game such as bighorn sheep and elk was a major pursuit in the fall of the year, reflected in "game drives" containing v-shaped rock walls that funneled prey towards hunters in shooting blinds. In this presentation, Dr. LaBelle provides an overview of the alpine archaeology of Colorado, focusing on hunting sites and other important places, proposing reasons for their construction and use over millennia, and arguing for the importance of these places to the peoples of the past as well as today.

Dr. Jason LaBelle is the Director of the Center for Mountain and Plains Archaeology and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. His research interests include grassland and mountain ecology, hunter-gatherer site structure, communal hunting, hearth cooking, and the history of archaeology. His current fieldwork focuses on the foothills and mountains of Northern Colorado, but past fieldwork has taken him across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains spanning from New Mexico to Montana. Jason served as the (past) President of the Colorado Archaeological Society, the Colorado Council of Professional Archaeologists, and on the Board of Directors for the Plains Anthropological Society. He has published articles in journals such as Quaternary International, American Antiquity, Plains Anthropologist, and North American Archaeologist, in addition to book chapters and technical reports in the academic and contract realms. His research efforts are supported in part by the Jim and Audrey Benedict Fund for Mountain Archaeology, an endowment established in 2011 to support alpine archaeology in the Southern Rocky Mountains. Jason was awarded the Stephen H. Hart award from History Colorado for his statewide efforts in archaeological research and public education.

The mission of the Estes Park Museum is to conduct activities that preserve, share and respect the unique history of Estes Park. For more information, call the Estes Park Museum at 970-586-6256 or visit the Museum's website at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.