The past is such a complex conglomeration of clues, fragments of time, eager to be discovered by you at the Magic Mountain dig site in Golden, Colorado! This enlightening and rare opportunity to explore archaeology is a tour lasting about an hour on the history and people who lived at what is now the Magic Mountain Dig site, as well as techniques used at this site to assist in uncovering past human life.
This dig site is driven by conservation archaeology where a magnitude gradiometer is tuned to ambient magnetics, focusing on variations in the soil to create a geotechnical map as an indicator of where to dig for artifacts. This way, most of the land is left undisturbed to protect the lands’ natural state from unnecessary disturbances. The reason why a magnitude gradiometer is needed is due to the buildup of earthen matter over time and the artifacts get buried due to the hogback valley’s slope where rocks, dirt, and other natural materials descend the slope and engulf these essentials to past life. With this innovative piece of technology, it’s possible to technologically unearth the possible location of some of these artifacts, signaling where to dig. This way, archaeologists can be minimally invasive to the land, preserving it for future archaeologists with their improved technology, being able to discover even more information about the past. The artifacts that the Magic Mountain Dig Site is focused on are dated back to 1000 years ago, even though there is evidence that people lived there 7000 years ago. Using the stratigraphy of the land, archeologists can tell that, older artifacts are nestled deeper down into the Earth, while newer artifacts are closer to the surface of the Earth, which is where they are currently digging for artifacts. Some of the remains found so far include: stone structures (possible stone homes), fire pits, ovens, arrowheads, ceramic shards, and tools for grinding grains. These remains are a beacon of insight to solve the puzzle of human life thousands of years ago. One of the goals of these public tours of the Magic Mountain Dig Site is to “demystify the image of archaeology…we always have the image of Indiana Jones when it comes to archaeology,” according to Dr. Michele Koons. In this way, it sharpens the image of what archaeology truly is. There is this overarching theme of persistence as the land at the Magic Mountain has been cultivated and utilized by people, sustaining lives for such a long time. The land there was occupied by the ancestors of today’s tribes and is all strung together by a fine thread of continuity as this rich land is important for tribes today as it was thousands of years ago.
At the Magic Mountain dig site tours, the general public is requested to not pick up or take remains. If they happened to pick up or take remains, the important context about where the artifacts were found would vanish and essentially, we would lose history. To sign up for this archeological dig, go to DMNS.org, find Magic Mountain Dig Site, and request a reservation. This event is completely free, a learning experience for all ages, and starts June 20-27 and July 5-14. For a deeper understanding of archaeology, a chance to help uncover the mysteries of past human life, and learning about the tools used by archaeologists, I would undoubtedly recommend visiting the Magic Mountain Dig Site for an information-packed, yet intriguing tour.