On Saturday, September 26, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science hosted the first annual Rocky Mountain Pre-Columbian Association Research Colloquium. Archaeologists and anthropologists from the Mountain West met to present and confer on the latest research on the theme of space and place in the ancient Americas. I was there on behalf of the University Press of Colorado to discuss potential book projects with scholars, drum up interest for our new releases, and learn a thing or two.
The program was packed with presentations by UPC volume authors, contributors, and editors, including Arthur A. Joyce (Polity and Ecology in Formative Period Coastal Oaxaca), Sarah B. Barber (Mesoamerican Ritual Economy), Catherine DiCesare (Sweeping the Way), and Carlos Rincón Mautner (Bridging the Gaps).
Sarah Kurnick presented research on Maya political landscapes in the Yucatan as a preview to her upcoming coedited volume Political Strategies in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
Former UPC trustee and coeditor of Surviving Sudden Environmental Change Payson Sheets managed to stay (mostly) straight-faced while explaining the paleoethnobotany involved in uncovering evidence for something called the “toothache plant”—a potent aphrodisiac discovered in an ancient Maya village.
It was an interested, enthusiastic gathering of scholars and laypeople—about fifty in all—in the museum's small Ricketson Auditorium. The intimate atmosphere fostered in-depth conversation between the presenters and the audience. I hope the annual Pre-Columbian Research Colloquium will turn out to be a long-standing tradition in the Rocky Mountain anthropology community.