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May 19, 2017 by Lori Ridgway

CWC Archaeology Students Receive Conference Award

Bailey Lewis and Sara Bales, Archaeology award winners

Lewis, Bales, and Naomi Ollie

CWC Anthropology students, Bailey Lewis and Sara Bales, both from Lander, received the "Best Student Research Paper" award at the Wyoming Archaeological Society/Wyoming Association of Professional Archaeologists annual joint conference in Cody on May 6, 2017.

Their paper titled, Spiral Petroglyphs and the Solstice: Archaeoastronomy in the Wind and Bighorn River Basins, discussed several archaeological sites that appear to be linked to astronomical events. The sites are being studied by the CWC Archaeological Field School as part of their work across the state for the Bureau of Land Management Worland, Lander and Casper field offices. 

“It was really nerve racking to present in front of our peers who were working on their PhD.’s and other professionals who had worked in the field for 30 to 40 years,” said Lewis, a freshman at CWC. 

Archaeoastronomy is uncommon in the archaeology field so it was exciting to do the research. It opened us up to a whole new world. After the nerves had settled, we had a social hour and we got a lot of great feedback and met a lot of people who were excited about our research and this new field of work. ”

Sara Bales, CWC Archaeology Student

Bales and Lewis are pictured above receiving their award from Naomi Ollie, President of the Wyoming Association of Professional Archaeologists. Bales and Lewis both have southwestern US American Indian ancestry and are particularly interested in this topic because of similarities between the Wyoming sites and the archaeology of​ Mexico and ​Chaco Canyon, New Mexico​. They wonder whether, through the process of cultural diffusion,​ these Wyoming sites might be related to ​sites created by their ancestors.

Four current or former CWC Anthropology students also received Brad Humphrey Memorial Scholarships for their research projects. They are pictured from left, Bailey Lewis, Sara Bales, Morgan Robins, and Jordan Walter and Brigid Grund, a doctoral student at the University of Wyoming.

Both Lewis and Bales intend to continue their education with plans to pursue bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in the field of archaeology.