Supporting Mesa Verde National Park
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The Mesa Verde Foundation strives to provide exciting and educational experience through our tours and events. Tours provide those seeking deeper experiences at Mesa Verde National Park and the greater Ancestral Puebloan region with in-depth experiences. Our events provide ways for people to engage further with the Foundation in communities throughout the Four Corners region.

"Conversations from the Mesa" Webinar Series

Modern Mapping Applications for Cultural Resource Management at Mesa Verde National Park”

PresenterSheldon Baker, Compliance Archaeologist and Cultural Resource GIS Specialist at Mesa Verde National Park

Moderator: Monica BuckleMesa Verde Foundation Board of Directors Member

NEW DATE: Wednesday, October 27th at 4:00pm MDT

Systematic archaeological surveys documenting archaeological sites and their geographic location began at Mesa Verde National Park in the early 1950s. This early documentation recorded only basic information on paper site cards with simple, hand-drawn maps.

After several catastrophic wildfires in the 1990s, archaeological surveys began recording in much greater detail.  Computers and geospatial technology became valuable tools for Cultural Resource Management (CRM); data was entered and stored in a relational database. The locational data was pinpointed with GPS (Global Positioning System) receivers and brought into GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software for analysis and dynamic map display.

The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), passed in 1966, required federal agencies to identify cultural resources within project areas and to evaluate project impacts on these resources.  New cultural resource surveys were generated for nearly every infrastructure project occurring in the Park.  This webinar will discuss the role of these geospatial technologies in Cultural Resource Management at Mesa Verde National Park and how they assist the Park in completing its NHPA responsibilities and informing management decisions.

Sheldon Baker is an archaeologist at Mesa Verde.  He first visited the Park as a young child in the 1970s, an experience which planted a seed.  In his early adulthood, he wasn’t on a typical college track, but he knew that he wanted to travel.  On a trip to Mexico and Central America, he explored the archaeological sites of Mesoamerica, sparking his imagination to wonder what these ancient societies were like and prompting his decision to study anthropology and archaeology at Metropolitan State University of Denver.  Before graduating, he began his career in archeological field work with the Chugach National Forest in Alaska and private sector CRM firms in New Mexico.  He was also fortunate to get an opportunity to participate in the Chokepukio Archaeological Project in Cusco, Peru.

After obtaining his B.A., Sheldon went on to graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. He wrote his M.A thesis on Inferring Inequality and Social Heterogeneity through Variation in Inca Period Domestic Architecture. He also has a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from the University College at the University of Denver.

Sheldon first worked at Mesa Verde as a crew member for the 2005, 2006 and 2007 field seasons on the Long Mesa post-fire archaeological site survey and the Spruce Tree House Architectural Documentation Project.  He also worked for the NPS as an archaeologist at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and at the Flagstaff Area National Monuments.  He has worked for Mesa Verde for the last 10 years on a variety of Section 106 compliance and post-fire archaeological survey projects.  His primary niche on the Mesa Verde Cultural Resource team is the management of the Park’s archaeological GIS data, which he will discuss in detail in his webinar presentation.

The conversation will be moderated by Mesa Verde Foundation Board Member, Monica Buckle (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma).

Click HERE to register for this webinar!

“Conversations from the Mesa” Upcoming Webinars

November 10th – Nathan Brown, Biologist/Wildlife Program Lead – “Wildlife and Natural Resource Management”

December 8th – Andrew Spear, Bioscience Technician – “Water Ecology of Mesa Verde National Park and Yucca House”

Sign up links will be posted on the website and sent out via email typically two weeks before the webinar.

“Conversations from the Mesa” Past Webinars (Click on the links to see the full recording on YouTube!)

Preserving Mesa Verde Architecture: March’s Webinar with Stephen Matt, Mesa Verde National Park Archaeologist

Rare Plants and Wildflowers of Mesa Verde National Park: April’s Webinar with Tova Spector, MVNP’s Chief of Natural Resources

A Postcard Perspective on the History of Mesa VerdeMay’s Webinar with Dr. Andrew Gulliford, Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Fort Lewis College and Mesa Verde Foundation Board Member

To Polish or not to Polish?: June’s Webinar with Dr. Tara Travis, Supervisory Museum Curator, Mesa Verde National Park and Yucca House National Monument

How Park Archaeologists Assess and Treat Fire-Affected Cultural Resources (Mesa Verde National Park): July’s Webinar with Christine McAllister, Mesa Verde National Park Archaeologist

Enjoying and Preserving Dark Skies at Mesa Verde National Park: September’s Webinar with Spencer Burke, Mesa Verde National Park Ranger and Visual Information Specialist

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