Dr. Richard Wilshusen Selected as Colorado State Archaeologist

Share Article

Dr. Richard Wilshusen is the new State Archaeologist for the state of Colorado, and will head History Colorado's Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. He is a specialist on the southwest United States with a national reputation as an expert in the Mesa Verde and Dinétah regions, early village emergence, and public archaeology issues. He earned his Ph.D from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

“As State Archaeologist, I hope to encourage people to learn more about our remarkable heritage and cultural landscapes, and to recognize the need to preserve these places that are so central to our identity as Coloradans."

History Colorado (formerly the Colorado Historical Society) is pleased to announce that Dr. Richard Wilshusen is the new State Archaeologist for the state of Colorado.

Dr. Wilshusen replaces Dr. Susan Collins, who had served as State Archaeologist for 22 years and retired in October 2010. Dr. Wilshusen comes to History Colorado with a 25-year career encompassing a diverse set of skills as an administrator, educator and researcher in anthropology and archaeology.

Over the course of his career, he has worked in Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Colombia, Belize and Guatemala, but has focused on Colorado. With a Ph.D from the University of Colorado at Boulder, he is considered a specialist on the southwest with a national reputation as an expert in the Mesa Verde and Dinétah regions, early village emergence, and public archaeology issues.

He has worked for state and federal governments, tribes, contract firms, universities and at Crow Canyon—an institution that combines research and public education. He has served as both a field and staff archaeologist, as a professor and as a liaison for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). He has extensive experience as a project director for large archaeological investigations and teaches undergraduate and graduate level classes on a wide range of topics.

“We conducted a national search for Colorado’s new State Archaeologist, and Richard stood out for his experience and expertise about Colorado, and his ability as an effective communicator about archaeology to both general and professional audiences,” said Ed Nichols, History Colorado President and CEO.

“With the new History Colorado Center on the horizon, and the transformation of the Colorado Historical Society into History Colorado, it is more important than ever before to continue our role as the most trusted, responsive resource for historic preservation, archaeology and education in communities across the state,” said Nichols.

“To be chosen as the State Archaeologist is an incredible opportunity,” said Dr. Wilshusen. “Colorado has one of the most distinctive archaeological records of any state in the nation, as it has been a major crossroads throughout history—more than 40 tribes and pueblos have historical ties to this landscape. Whether we consider the Native American hunting camps that date to 10,000 years ago, the earliest pueblos of the ninth century in the southwest corner of the state, or an abandoned mining town—it is an amazing record.”

“As State Archaeologist, I hope to encourage people to learn more about our remarkable heritage and cultural landscapes, and to recognize the need to preserve these places that are so central to our identity as Coloradans,” stated Dr. Wilshusen. “I look forward to visiting museums and towns throughout the state and trying to stitch this large story of our past into a narrative more of us can know.”

Dr. Wilshusen will oversee the Office of the State Archaeologist and the staff in History Colorado’s Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. The Office of the State Archaeologist provides guidance relating to the identification, documentation, including creation and maintenance of the database of these sites, as well as protection of archaeological resources in Colorado. This includes investigation of impacts to archaeological resources and response to questions for technical and administrative assistance—including responding to the discovery of unmarked human burials, and the issuance of permits for archaeological and paleontological work on nonfederal lands in the state.

For more information about the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, visit http://coloradohistory-oahp.org/.

About History Colorado
Established in 1879, History Colorado (formerly known as the Colorado Historical Society) offers the public access to cultural and heritage resources of Colorado, including statewide museums and special programs for individuals and families, collection stewardship of Colorado’s historic treasures, educational resources for schools, students and teachers, services related to preservation, archaeology and history, and a research library. A new headquarters and museum—the History Colorado Center—is currently under construction at 12th and Broadway in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District. Find History Colorado online at http://www.facebook.com/history.colorado and http://www.history.colorado.org, or call (303) 866-3682.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Rebecca Laurie, Public Relations Directo

Shannon Haltiwanger, Public Affairs & Co
Visit website