First look at archaeological dig near Garden of the Gods

Published: Nov. 15, 2018 at 6:26 PM MST
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An archaeological dig is giving us a first hand look into the life of the Palmer family. General William Palmer founded Colorado Springs.

The dig is between the entrance to Garden of the Gods park and the Glen Eyrie Conference Center along the Camp Creek bike path. The city was about to start construction, so archaeologists did a quick scan of the area and found a treasure trove.

Someone found a shoe, some bricks and other old items. All belonging to the most famous Colorado Springs family, the Palmers.

"He's in the league of Andrew Carnegie, or Rockefellers," Jon Horn, the Principal Investigator for Alpine Archaeology, explained.

We know plenty about the Palmers in written history. However, physical history is often lost.

"It [the dig site discovery] lets us in on some other parts like what kind of toothpaste that they are using," Archaeologist Shannon Landry stated at the dig site. "Which is actually really cool."

Archaeologists have been finding about 80 percent of their artifacts in a yellow layer of the dirt at the dig site called the midden. It's basically a "garbage-dump" layer.

Among the recovered artifacts to date are fragments of ceramic plates; building material from Glen Eyrie, including bricks, light bulbs and batteries; fully intact glass bottles; textile and clothing remnants, such as shoe leathers and buttons; and, food debris, like peach pits and fish bones and shells. Following the dig, archaeologists will closely analyze and catalog the data offsite, and a detailed public report will be issued in 2019. The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is also planning a special exhibit to share the extracted artifacts as part of a major new exhibit about Palmer scheduled for late 2019.

Guided public tours of the archaeological site will be available Nov. 17-20 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. Weather dependent, these tours will begin at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center on the second floor balcony before departing for the site.