EWC Archaeology Symposium Will Bring International Experts

Jun 6, 2024 | Regional News

Torrington, WY (RELEASE) June 6th, 2024 — Eastern Wyoming College hosts its inaugural Archaeology Symposium later this month. The program begins June 27 and runs through the 29. The event features a host of archaeologists from around the globe speaking on their personal experiences studying the “Earliest Americans”. Attendees of this symposium will have the opportunity to interact with these expert archaeologists at the historic town of Sunrise, Wyoming where they can learn firsthand what research is being conducted in the former mining town.

The idea for this free symposium stemmed from a collaboration between Eastern Wyoming College’s new Archaeology Program Director, Dr. Steven Howard and the Sunrise Historic and Prehistoric Preservation Society (SHAPPS).

The Archaeology Program was developed through Governor Mark Gordon’s allocation of federal funds from the newly launched Wyoming Innovation Partnership (WIP) which covers the first year of the program. The WIP is seen as a new effort to better diversify and grow the state’s economy and workforce.

“We are looking forward to building this new program and grateful for the opportunity to offer students an experiential education to prepare them for archaeology careers,” said Dr. Howard. “This will in turn, contribute to Wyoming’s tourism industry through development and enhancement of archaeological and historical destinations. This event is meant to bring together community members, archaeological professionals and enthusiasts from across the world.”

The symposium kicks off Thursday evening, June 27 at 6 p.m.with a welcome reception and opening address from Governor Mark Gordon. This will be followed by the first slate of dynamic speakers beginning at 7 p.m.

Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29 the attention turns to the historic town of Sunrise, Wyoming. Dr. Howard has partnered with SHAPPS to host many on-site activities. Beginning at 9 a.m. each day, there will be tours of the former mining town, multiple demonstrations and hands-on activities.

“This is a very special time of year,” John Voight, who purchased the town of Sunrise in 2011, said. “The town will come alive once again, not with miners, but with researchers working to understand the history of this town and what came before it. We are excited to share this with them.”

Round trip shuttle service is available both days from Eastern Wyoming College to Sunrise, Wyoming. The shuttles will run beginning at 9 p.m. with the final shuttle leaving Sunrise at 4 p.m. Check the website for the shuttle schedule.


Friday evening the symposium returns to the EWC Campus at the Fine Arts Center where presentations from three additional archaeologists will be heard.


There is no cost to attend the symposium. “Although free, we are encouraging attendees to register for the event and to use the shuttle service provided to transport folks to and from Sunrise since parking is very limited,” states Voight. Interested attendees can register at www.sunrisesymposium.org.


“We have invited dignitaries from across Wyoming to join us for this terrific event,” states Dr. Howard. “We hope they have the opportunity to join us Friday or Saturday in Sunrise, Wyoming to see firs hand the incredible work and exploration being conducted by our student archaeologists, and the researchers joining us from around the globe. In addition to the educational aspects of the Symposium itself, the event will showcase the archaeological, geological and natural resources Wyoming has to offer.”


More information on our speakers follows:

Bruce Bradley, Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter, UK has extensive experience with Stone Age technologies and experimental archaeology. He received a BA in anthropology at the University of Arizona and PhD in archaeology at Cambridge University, UK.  Bradley will analyze artifacts recovered at the Powars II site and has identified a possible new projectile point type; Sunrise Point, its correspondence to and deviation from other named types, including unfluted Folsom, Goshen, Midland and Plainview, as well as the implications of identifying a new type, are presented.

Dr. Rafael Suárez Sainz is an archaeologist affiliated with the Universidad de la República in Uruguay. He holds a Ph.D. in Natural Sciences from the University of La Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His research interests span various aspects of archaeology, including lithic technology, the peopling of the Americas, hunter-gatherer lifeways, geoarchaeology, and more.Currently with the research team, Dr. Sainz is excavating sites in the plains of the Uruguay River and early human occupations recently discovered in rock shelters and caves of the North Uruguay. The research carried out includes the collaboration of Uruguayans and researchers of North and South America and Europe. Dr. Rafael Suarez Sainz (Uruguay) will discuss the PaleoIndian period in Uruguay.


George Zeimens, executive director of the Sunrise Historic and Prehistoric Preservation Society, is an archaeologist known for his work in Wyoming. He has made significant contributions to the field, and has completed extensive research on the Powars II Paleoindian archaeological site.


Astolfo Araujo is a lecturer at the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, University of São Paulo, Brazil (MAE/USP). Originally trained in Geology, he got his MA and PhD in Archaeology, and presently his main interests are linked to tropical geoarchaeology on the one hand, and the application of evolutionary epistemology to archaeological problems on the other. He is head of the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Studies on Evolution, Culture, and Environment (LEVOC) Dr. Araujo will discuss new PaleoIndian research along the Tietê River in São Paulo State, SE Brazil.

Letícia Cristina Correa holds a Ph.D. from the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at the University of São Paulo (2017-2022). She also completed her master’s degree at the same institution (2014-2017) and obtained her undergraduate degree from the Methodist University of Piracicaba (2005-2009)  Her research interests include Paleoindian archaeology and lithic industries. Letícia has contributed to several scholarly articles.  Letícia will also be participating in the inaugural Symposium, where she will discuss cultural diversity among the Paleoindian peoples of São Paulo State, SE BrazilDr. Rafael Suarez Sainz (Uruguay) will discuss the PaleoIndian period in Uruguay.

Dr. Clark Wernecke is the retired director of the Prehistoric Research Project at the University of Texas at Austin and former director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research. His research interests include Paleoindian archaeology, portable art, early architecture and archaeological management. Dr. Werneke will be discussing the Gault Site, which is a PaleoIndian site in Central Texas.

Information about the Archaeology Program can be found by visiting www.ewc.wy.edu/academics/programs. Information and registration for the symposium can be found by visiting www.sunrisesymposium.org. Questions, please contact Stacie Walter at [email protected] or Annie Wood at [email protected].