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CWC students honored for archaeology paper

May 26, 2017 - From staff reports

CWC Anthropology students, Bailey Lewis and Sara Bales, both from Lander, received the "Best Student Research Paper" award at the Wyoming Archaeological Society/Wyoming Association of Professional Archaeologists annual joint conference in Cody on May 6.

Their paper titled "Spiral Petroglyphs and the Solstice: Archaeoastronomy in the Wind and Bighorn River Basins," discussed several archaeological sites that appear to be linked to astronomical events. The sites are being studied by the CWC Archaeological Field School as part of their work across the state for the Bureau of Land Management Worland, Lander and Casper field offices.

"It was really nerve racking to present in front of our peers who were working on their Ph.Ds and other professionals who had worked in the field for 30 to 40 years," said Lewis, a freshman at CWC.

Bales and Lewisboth have southwestern US American Indian ancestry and areparticularly interested in this topic because of similaritiesbetween the Wyoming sites andthe archaeology ofR03;Mexico and R03;Chaco Canyon, New MexicoR03;. They wonder whether, through the process of cultural diffusion,R03;these Wyoming sites might be related to R03;sites created by their ancestors.

"Archaeoastronomy is uncommon in the archaeology field so it was exciting to do the research," Bales said. "It opened us up to a whole new world. After the nerves had settled, we had a social hour and we got a lot of great feedback and met a lot of people who were excited about our research and this new field of work."

Four current or former CWC Anthropology students -- Lewis, Bales, Morgan Robin, Jordan Walter and Brigid Grund -- also received Brad Humphrey Memorial Scholarships for their research projects. Both Lewis and Bales intend to continue their education with plans to pursue bachelor's degrees and master's degrees in the field of archaeology.

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