BLM Logo
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Release Date: 03/04/14
Contacts: Sarah Thomson, 970-882-5600    

Road Scholar Service Program Allows Volunteers to Preserve Ancient Artifacts

DOLORES, Colo. - Imagine holding ancient artifacts that are usually behind glass in a museum or archived in repositories. Twelve volunteers from around the world gathered at the Anasazi Heritage Center to complete a Road Scholars service program where they inventoried and stored ceramic artifacts excavated from the Dolores Archaeological Program. 

The artifacts were collected in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and the volunteers worked to update the archival packaging to more sustainable packing versus the original crumbling plastic bags and collapsing boxes.   

“The Road Scholars processed 33 boxes of artifacts in three days,” said Marietta Eaton, Anasazi Heritage Center and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Manager. “The new packaging and storage ensures that these objects are preserved for scholars and the public for many years to come.” 

This Road Scholar service program is one part of a multi-year grant from the Colorado Historical Society State Historical Fund to inventory, rehouse and update database records for more than 1.5 million artifacts unearthed during the Dolores Archaeological Program, one of the largest archaeological projects in U.S. history. 

Jim Colleran, of the McElmo Canyon Research Institute, worked with Anasazi Heritage Center staff to educate the Road Scholar participants about southwest Colorado archaeology.  He presented a day-long overview of area’s ceramic types and provided assistance during the project. The McElmo Canyon Research Institute, a partner in the grant application, also provided housing for the Road Scholars during their time in Colorado.    

The Anasazi Heritage Center is three miles west of Dolores, and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to For more information about the Dolores Archaeological Program, please visit

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.

Last updated: 03-04-2014