Students in Central Wyoming College’s Western American Studies program presented papers and received recognition at the joint meeting of the Wyoming Association of Professional Archaeologists and the Wyoming Archaeological Society held recently in Laramie.
CWC Professor Todd Guenther said students Mallory Ann Hayes, Nico Holt, Billy Hovendick, Jordan Stapley and Jennifer Thornton presented research papers based on archaeological field work conducted during 2012. Other presenters included both students and faculty from the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University, as well as professional archaeologists from around the region.
Hayes’ paper was recognized as the “Best Student Paper” of the conference, an award that is not automatically given every year, Guenther said. “Her stunning presentation of a controversial topic raised many eyebrows as she compared and evaluated textbooks and preservation laws in the U.S. and various European countries.”
Another of Guenther’s students, Katie Johnson, received the “coveted” Dave Reiss Memorial Research Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship which is matched by UW. Johnson presented a research proposal to continue documenting archaeological sites associated with the tie hack trade in the Union Pass area where her great-grandfather Ben George worked and her grandfather Joe was raised.
The award was doubly significant for Guenther as Reiss was his good friend and the first crew chief he worked under after being hired at the State Archaeologist’s Office. Guenther followed Reiss as curator at South Pass City.
The CWC delegation was awarded all five of the $100 Brad Humphrey Memorial Scholarships for submitting their abstracts before other applicants. This was also meaningful to Guenther as he had known Humphrey well. Both Humphrey and Guenther began their archaeology careers as students at Luther College prior to coming to the University of Wyoming and then went together to the Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist. Sadly, Humphrey and two of Guenther’s next door neighbors in Laramie perished in the Arctic Ocean after crossing Greenland on mountain bikes. The group took a small boat to northern Canada when a whale breached beneath the vessel and all perished.
Holt spoke on issues related to being a Native American working in archaeology. His frank and moving presentation inspired the keynote speaker, David Whitley from Arizona State University, Guenther said. Whitley set his own topic aside briefly to talk about Nico’s presentation.
Hovendick discussed the results of a large CWC field school project conducted for the BLM during 2012, and Stapley gave the results of subsurface testing in a large rock shelter near Lander which has been occupied since at least 7,800 years ago.
Thornton discussed a mid-20th century sawmill south of Casper that provided raw materials to build Casper and the Casper Army Air Base. Guenther said this site was discovered during a project for the BLM-Casper Field Office which provided funding for the 2012 CWC Field School.