Colorado Archaeology

If you think archaeology is just for places like ancient Egypt, think again – Colorado is full of archaeological treasures and resources.

There are two types of archaeology – prehistoric and historic. Prehistoric archaeology deals with ancient civilizations, while historical archaeology deals with looking for clues to more recent events, at places such as battlefields or even under the former outhouses of old buildings. The Colorado Historical Society, in excavating the site of their new museum currently being constructed, conducted an archaeological excavation that turned up many clues to the people that lived in homes formerly on the site, even down to old childrens’ toys. Since most sites in downtown Denver have had as many as four or five different buildings on the same site in the last 150 years, there are many layers of artifacts to be found.

Not only the historical society, but also the Colorado Department of Transportation, play an important role in the State’s oversight of Colorado’s archaeological resources, both prehistoric and historic. CDOT’s reports on their archaeological excavations are available from our library. The state also makes sure that most prehistoric archaeological sites are not publicized, so that ancient items in places such as the Four Corners region, with its Puebloan heritage, can stay in tact. It is important to remember that you can be prosecuted for theft if you remove artifacts from protected state and federal lands.

Recently, our library received several new books from the University Press of Colorado that deal with our state’s archaeology, and what it tells us about the people who came before us. Here are a few of the interesting new titles you can now find in our collection:


  • Archaeological Landscapes on the High Plains
  • Frontiers in Colorado Paleoindian Archaeology : From the Dent Site to the Rocky Mountains
  • Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology of the Colorado High Country
  • Ice Age Hunters of the Rockies
  • Late Paleoindian Occupation of the Southern Rocky Mountains : Early Holocene Projectile Points and Land Use in the High Country


  • The Archaeology of Class War : The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913-1914
  • Denver : An Archaeological History