DUMA's archaeology collection focuses on the prehistory of Colorado.
The Renaud Collection
DUMA's first archaeological collections were those of E. B. Renaud, DUMA's founder. Renaud's collections are still some of the most-requested at DUMA today. Thanks to the staff of Special Collections, Cataloging and Systems at DU's Penrose Library, Renaud's field notes and reports are digitized online. (link to special collections)
Throughout the years, DUMA has become home to objects from over 1,800 Colorado archaeology sites. In addition, the collection contains objects from 12 western states, including New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
An archaeological highlight is the Franktown Cave collection. Franktown Cave, located
in southern Colorado, is one of the only dry caves in the region. In addition to thousands
of stone tools and pot shards (including an almost complete pot), the collection contains
the most extensive collection of perishable artifacts and plant specimens known in
the western High Plains. These items include sandals woven from yucca fibers, fragments
of coiled baskets, animal snares and leather artifacts such as moccasins and a piece
of a fringed leather legging.
With grant money from the National Science Foundation and the Colorado State Historical Fund, Dr. Sarah Nelson of the Anthropology Department and Kevin Gilmore of the Archaeological Research Institute here at DU are beginning analysis of this collection and have already dated many of the perishable artifacts.
Some of the sandals, several basket pieces and a fragment of what is apparently a robe made from woven strips of rabbit hide date to an occupation of the Cave that occurred about 5,000 years ago. One of the moccasins and the legging fragment date between CE 1000 and 1250. Continued analysis of this unique collection will shed much light on the prehistoric occupants of eastern Colorado.