Dr. Craig M. Lee, a Research Scientist at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado-Boulder, studies melting ice patches in alpine areas now designated wilderness. “The stable ice in these features exhibits little internal deformation or movement,” says Lee, “and can preserve otherwise perishable materials for millennia.”
“Ice patch archaeology” is Lee’s topic as the presenter for the next Draper Natural History Museum Lunchtime Expedition that takes place November 6, 12:15 p.m. in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Coe Auditorium. Lee discusses this fascinating subject in a free lecture titled Ice Patch Archaeology at the Crossroads of Culture and Climate Change in the Greater Yellowstone.
As the ice patches melt, exposing ancient archaeological and paleobiological materials, the unique archaeological record then visible illustrates a more than ten-thousand-year presence of Native peoples in the alpine, and provides a tangible indication of climate change in the Rocky Mountain West. “The impacts transcend the divide between the cultural and natural world,” notes Lee.
In addition to his position with INSTAAR, Lee is also a research scientist at Montana State University (MSU), and a principal investigator at Metcalf Archeological Consultants. He earned his PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MA from the University of Wyoming, and a BS from MSU.
Lee also consults with numerous land managing agencies in the Rocky Mountain region, as well as the National Park Service, regarding the impacts of climate change on heritage resources. Throughout his work, Lee places great emphasis on sharing the research and results with diverse audiences, including the professional scientific community, Native American communities, and the general public.
The Draper Museum’s Lunchtime Expedition series is supported in part by Sage Creek Ranch. For more information on this lecture and other natural science topics, visit our Draper Natural History Museum pages, or contact Dr. Charles Preston at [email protected] or 307-578-4078. At the December 4 lunchtime expedition, Kevin Hurley discusses the bighorn sheep of Wyoming and the Northern Rockies.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.