Archaeological News

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ASPEN — Apparently occupied for nearly 8,000 years, the so-called Sopris Archaic Archaeological Preserve will be permanently protected under an agreement approved Wednesday by the Pitkin County commissioners.

The 4- to 5-acre midvalley site sits on a 35-acre property owned by Jody Anthes and David Brown. Development now will be prohibited on the parcel under a conservation easement and management plan. In exchange, the owners will receive two transferable development rights that they may sell to another landowner seeking to develop a suitable site within the county.

Commissioners were unanimous in their excitement about the rare site, where “our consultant literally ran out of marker flags in seeking to count the number of artifacts lying on the surface,” according to county Open Space and Trails Director Dale Will. Read more.

ASPEN — Pitkin County commissioners meetings are rarely a setting that elicits “oohs” and “ahhs” — unless the board members are touring a site where scores of arrowheads and other projectiles and tools have been discovered.

The five commissioners and a sizable contingent walked undeveloped land owned by David Brown and Jody Anthes on Thursday and saw the impressive array of archaeological artifacts for themselves. Melissa Elkins, an archaeological consultant for the landowners, described why the find is significant.

“It’s definitely a bigger prehistoric site,” Elkins said. “The fact that there are a lot of tools suggests there were a lot of people here.”

While scores of artifacts are visible, similar to pottery shards at Anasazi sites in Utah, hundreds more might be covered by vegetation or buried, Elkins said. Read more.