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Release Date: 03/15/12
Contacts: Shannon Borders, 970-240-5399    

Road Scholars help maintain Anasazi Heritage Center’s Ancestral Puebloan Artifacts (03-15-12)

DOLORES, Colo. - Last week, eight Road Scholars (formerly Elderhostel) participated in an educational service trip with the McElmo Canyon Research Institute, to  inventorying boxes of Ancestral Puebloan artifacts at the Anasazi Heritage Center and expand their knowledge of the cultural heritage.  The group, including participants from as far away as Ohio, hand counted, recorded and repackaged over 6,000 individual potsherds in archival materials.

“The project was part of a two-year grant program funded by the Colorado Historical Society’s State Historical Fund to improve the Dolores Archeological Project collections, preservation and database access,” said Marietta Eaton, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument/Anasazi Heritage Center manager.  

One of the largest archeological projects in the history of the United States, the Dolores Archeological Project took place in the 1970s and 1980s prior to the construction of McPhee Dam and Reservoir.  Sixteen hundred archeological and historic sites in southwest Colorado were surveyed and recorded, and more than 1.5 million Dolores Archeological Project artifacts were curated at the Anasazi Heritage Center.  The Anasazi Heritage Center was originally built to house the collection of over 5,000 boxes of material. 

The grant-funded inventory helps preserve fragile artifacts and makes information more accessible for scholars, researchers while providing new material for future exhibitions. 

The Road Scholar participants were supervised by Anasazi Heritage Center and McElmo Canyon Research Institute staff, including archeologist Jim Colleran, who provided them with intensive pottery identification training sessions earlier in the week.

“Many of the participants forgot it was a service program because they learned so much from their experience,” said Jerene Waite, PhD, director of the McElmo Canyon Research Institute.

The program also included an important lesson in recycling.  While replacing the original non-archival or deteriorated artifact packaging with new archival materials, the group generated over 89 pounds of recyclable plastic during their three-day visit.  To date, the Anasazi Heritage Center’s Dolores Archeological Program inventory project has recycled over 73,000 polyethylene bags through its ongoing partnership with Safeway, Inc. 

“It really is amazing how something as small as a plastic can make such a huge difference when we keep them out of our local landfills,” said Deborah Kelley-Galin, grant project coordinator. 

Information about future Road Scholars educational programs at the Anasazi Heritage Center is available at  For more information on the Bureau of Land Management’s Anasazi Heritage Center, go to .

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  29211 Highway 184      Dolores, CO 81323  

Last updated: 03-15-2012