Stone Age Fair brings ancient history to Loveland – Loveland Reporter-Herald

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The annual Loveland Stone Age Fair, a gathering of professional and amateur archaeologists and anyone interested in history, will take place this weekend at the Ranch Events Complex.

A longstanding Loveland tradition dating back to the 1930s, organizers say the event is a hidden gem in the area, and the country’s top archaeologists often make appearances. Visitors can see artifacts over 10,000 years old.

“It’s a treasure,” said Andy Coca, president of the Loveland Archaeological Society, the nonprofit organization that hosts the fair each year.

This year will be no exception. In addition to being able to view an extensive collection of artifacts found both locally and across the country, visitors will have the opportunity to hear lectures from Jessi Halligan, an assistant professor of archeology at Florida State University, who has recently discovered what may be the oldest human-made artifacts in North America during an underwater dig off the coast of Florida, and Brendon Asher, professor of anthropology and applied archeology at Eastern New Mexico University and director of the Blackwater Draw Site, one of the most important dig sites in North America, and the place where the so-called “Clovis points”, for many years the oldest man-made artifacts from the area, have been discovered.

Andy Coca, president of the Loveland Archaeological Society, holds an obsidian sun disk on Monday, while showing off some of his collection and talking about the upcoming Stone Age Fair in Loveland. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

The event, which is free to the public and spans Saturday and Sunday, will also have booths to identify artifacts visitors might have found, as well as a kids’ booth where they can dig in the sand to find artifacts. Scholarships will be awarded to students studying archeology at Colorado State University and the University of Wyoming.

Hobby hunters are welcome, Coca said, and anyone interested in becoming an artifact hunter can attend not only the fair, but also the Archaeological Society’s monthly meetings, which are held every third Tuesday at the Chilson Center. in Loveland.

The role of lay archaeologists is crucial, Coca said, because they often help professionals identify dig sites and present them with artifacts that could trigger future digs. Also, he said, there is evidence that the continent’s oldest artifacts have yet to be identified, as it is difficult to precisely date things like dart heads, spearheads and arrowheads without other context, such as blood samples, nearby bone fragments, or other evidence of a specific time period in which the object may have been made.

“We might even have it in those frames, we just don’t know what it looks like exactly,” Coca said, pointing to a collection of “points” or dart tips, arrowheads, spearheads and knives nearby. “Any one of them could be the missing link. You never know for sure.

The fair will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 24 at the McKee 4-H, Youth and Community Building at The Ranch, and will continue until 6 p.m., with speakers taking the stage at 1 p.m. The fair will continue on Sunday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“You dig something up like this, you realize it’s so old, and the last person to touch it was 10,000 years ago, it does something to you,” Coca said. “It invades you.”

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