Faculty Research and Current Projects

Kurd Qaburstan research (Iraq)

University of Northern Colorado news brief

Poudre Learning Center Archaeology Activity and Geophysics Test Site

University of Northern Colorado news brief
Greeley Tribune news brief

McNair Faculty Mentor

Office of Undergraduate Research faculty highlight

Northwest Colorado Paleoindian Study

  • Funded by the Bureau of Land Management under a five year Assistance Agreement (2010-2014) for $50,000. Researchers: Robert Brunswig and Andrew Creekmore (Anthropology) and Frederic Sellet (Anthropology, University of Kansas).
  • The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) began a preliminary study of the Cathedral Buttes (5MF625) and 5MF645 Paleoindian sites on Bureau of Land Management Lands, Little Snake Field Office, in 2009.  UNC archaeologists analyzed artifacts from the Cathedral Buttes site, conducted a local geomorphology study, radiocarbon-dated a hearth from 5MF645 and provided detailed drawings and descriptions of the Cathedral Butte artifacts. The project expands Paleoindian site studies on BLM-administered lands in Northwest Colorado to better understand and document Paleoindian cultural and natural landscapes from ca. 11,200-7,500 years ago. On-going archaeological and geological investigations are being conducted at a stratified early Paleoindian site, Kib-Ridge Yampa with Clovis, Folsom, and Late Paleoindian cultural deposits.  The project fosters university-federal agency-and public engagement opportunities and collaborations for better understanding of Colorado cultural resources and histories of the state’s earliest populations. At the same time, it will contribute to more informed management of cultural heritage resources on BLM-administered lands in Northwestern Colorado. The project was re-focused in 2010 to concentrate on the Kib-Ridge Yampa site emphasizing a collaborative research program involving UNC, the University of Kansas, and the Kramer Archaeology Odyssey Endowment.

North Park Cultural Landscapes Project

  • Funded by the Bureau of Land Management under a five year Assistance Agreement (2010-2014) for $50,000. Researchers: Robert Brunswig and Andrew Creekmore (Anthropology) and Frederic Sellet (Anthropology, University of Kansas).
  • This project is a five-year Assistance Agreement between the Bureau of Land Management  and the University of Northern Colorado to continue archaeological and other related multidisciplinary research programs as part of its North Park Cultural Landscapes Project.  The objective of the  Agreement is for the university to gather basic scientific data regarding the earliest inhabitants of North America through: cultural survey, site recordation and analysis; site testing, excavation, field and laboratory analysis; ethnographic studies with the Northern Utes; and to provide  avocational and student learning opportunities; to provide public involvement and participation; to foster opportunities for university students to learn the art and science of archaeology and earn undergraduate degrees; to provide post graduate students opportunities to complete advanced degrees; to involve other scientific disciplines in analysis and synthesis; to contribute to our understanding of Early Americans through participation and dissemination of information through anthropological conferences, book and monograph publications, newspapers and tourist/visitor publications; preparation of interim and final reports, and articles for professional journals and to highlight the historic resources of North Park Valley in Colorado Southern Rocky Mountains.

Phase 1 GIS Mapping of Cultural, Paleoclimatic and Paleoenvironmental Landscapes in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Funded by the National Park Service for $11,128 (2011-2013). Researchers:  Robert Brunswig (Anthropology), James Doerner, and David Diggs (Geography).
  • The project builds on more than a decade of related research projects by the investigators and other researchers to enhance and update existing Geographic Information System (GIS) databases and modeling projects for prehistoric and early historic archeological sites and assemble new data layers on climate change variables based on pre-existing and one new sediment coring sites and recent ice patch climate evidence. A revised cultural GIS database, natural, geological, and hydrological GIS layers, and supplemental information from ice patch research are being combined in an initial, pilot phase GIS project designed to simulate human land use patterns within the park’s environmental zones from the end of the last Ice Age to early historic times. GIS simulation of human occupation and paleoclimate patterns will refine understanding of the park’s cultural history and provide proxy data for better interpreting potential effects of emerging climatic change on park environments and its modern-day human visitors and full-time residents.

Sacred Landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park: Model Validation Surveys.

  • Funded by the National Park Service for $9,590 (2009-2011). Researchers:  Robert Brunswig (Anthropology) and David Diggs (Geography)
  • The Sacred Landscapes Project is a continuation of long-term research begun in 2000 into the archaeology and ethno-history of Native American sacred places through the application of GIS modeling of geographic distributions of those ethnographically and archeologically identified spiritual places and ritual features within Rocky Mountain National Park. Current research, begun in 2000, is completing reports and publications on new high altitude surveys of locations predicted as likely locations of ritual features by a recently completed GIS modeling study authored by the investigators. 

The Dearfield Dream Project

  • UNC Researchers: George Junne (Africana Studies), Robert Brunswig and Andrew Creekmore (Anthropology), Rob Reinsvold (Biological Sciences), Jay Trask (Michener Library Archives), and Matthew Downey (Social Sciences).  Non-UNC Project Partners: The Black American West Museum (Denver), Weld County, Greeley Museums, Colorado Preservation, Inc., Colorado State University Office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry, Texas A&M University, and the National Society of Landscape Architects (Colorado Chapter).
  • The Dearfield Dream Project is a collaborative, multidisciplinary research program which builds on earlier work accomplished by the Black American West Museum and scholars from the Greeley Museums, University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado (Boulder), Colorado State University, a number of earlier grant-funded private historical resource consultants, and others. Intended to continue over the next several years, project researchers plan to conduct archaeological, historical, and environmental studies on the early 20th Century African-American colony of Dearfield, located 25 miles east of Greeley, Colorado. Project collaborators will conduct new field, laboratory, archival, and historical document and photographic studies to generate new knowledge and assemble a master archival data base on Dearfield's social, economic, political, and environmental history. The resulting data base, publications, and  public and professional presentations is intended to establish a strong foundation for future studies of the site and its role in Colorado, regional, and national history, emphasizing its historical relevance in better understanding social, economic, and political discrimination and environmental [“dust-bowl” climate change] issues so important to today’s world.

Pilgrimage and Sacred Site Project

  • Funded by Faculty Research and Publication Board, Provost Award, and Office of Sponsored Programs (8000.00).  Researcher: Sally McBeth (Anthropology).  2005-2011
  • The purpose of this research is to examine and analyze the ways that humans understand manifestations of the sacred in landscape and place.  A great deal of research (anthropology, religious studies, sociology, philosophy, psychology) has been conducted to better understand pilgrimage and peoples’ sense of sacred space.  Frequently, however, when anthropologists attempt to capture the subtle nuances of the sacred, they often do so in jargon-laden language and so lose touch with the intensity of the connection between place and sacredness.  The focus of this research project is to personalize the topic by asking pilgrims and visitors (Native and non-Native) to selected sacred sites in the Northern Plains (Bear Butte, Sand Creek, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel, Devil’s Tower, Wounded Knee Massacre Site) what has brought them to these places.

Collaborative Research and Professional Staff/Faculty/Student Exchange Project Based on Tatra National Parks (Poland and Slovakia) and Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP)

  • Researchers and Collaborators: RMNP Administrators (Ben Bobowski, RMNP Chief of Resources ) and staff, Tatra National Park administrators and staff, UNC (Robert Brunswig, Anthropology) and Colorado State University faculty ( Mark Fiege/History; David  Cooper, Rangeland Science) and staff, faculty and students from Jagiellonian University, Crakow, Poland, and Žilina University, Žilina, Slovakia.
  • The Tatra National Parks and Rocky Mountain National Park collaborative project deals with cross-national/international research on park management, natural resources, cultural resources, tourism, economic development… in the three parks (the U.S., Poland, and Slovakia) and their respective regions. Evolving research and resource management programs involve international exchanges of park personnel, faculty and students among the three countries and a variety of fundamental research programs designed to take advantage of different governmental and university administrative, management, and research perspectives to promote effective stewardship of natural and cultural resources in both parks on the two continents.

Click here for information on Dr. Creekmore's research.

  • Study Abroad