Who We Are

Dominquez Archaeological Research Group (DARG) is the operational division of Dominquez Archaeological Research Group, Inc, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 2003 as a consortium for anthropological and archaeological research, preservation, and education in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

Our Mission

DARG's mission is to provide an organizational and operational environment that facilitates:

  • Professional excellence and the application of high standards in archaeological and anthropological research, preservation, and education.
  • Scientific rigor and the development and application of innovative research methods and advanced technology for data capture and information management in archaeology and anthropology.
  • Cooperative and collaborative approaches in cultural resources research, preservation, and education that integrate cross-boundary knowledge and expertise from diverse professional, institutional, and public sources.

Featured Projects

Archaeological Reassessment of Rock Art in Canyon Pintado National Historic District: Phase I

This project begins a major preservation, research, and public archaeology initiative for rock art resources in Canyon Pintado National Historic District (5RB.984) located south of Rangely, Colorado in Rio Blanco County. A team of archaeologists and technical specialists organized by Dominquez Archaeological Research Group (DARG) will revisit and intensively record twelve high-value rock art sites in the East Four Mile Draw site complex using advanced, high-resolution digital imaging and computational image processing techniques. Project data will be organized for review, assessment, and curation by tribal, agency, and professional research partners; and will establish baseline recording protocols for future phases of the project. Selected digital products will be shared with public archaeology and education partners. The project will leverage long-term collaborative relationships among professional, tribal and preservation partners; and will encourage newly formed coalitions promoting public archaeology, site stewardship, historic preservation and heritage tourism in an under-served area of the state.

Click here to learn more!

Ghost Walker Wickiup Site

This project was undertaken to mitigate the adverse effects of a proposed land sale on two prehistoric camp sites (5RB4558 and 5RB8902) located in the Strawberry Creek area of Northwest Colorado. These sites were determined eligible as part of a 2018 inventory. A research design for the mitigation of the sites was prepared by Lukas W. Trout, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s White River Field Office. The research emphasis and the objectives outlined in that design were two-fold: (1) archaeological and environmental data recovery and description, and (2) the synthesis and interpretation of the recovered archaeological materials.

Fieldwork for the data recovery occurred between May 1st and June 15th 2020. Thermal features were excavated at each site, and provided radiocarbon data of the their occupation during the same period about 1700 years ago. Macrobotanical samples gathered from the hearth features provided information about the season of occupation and the plants being used. Pollen samples indicated plants growing in the surrounding landscape and implied conditions of a wet environment present during that period. Fire-altered rocks recovered from the feature at 5RB4558 were subjected to protein analyses and indicated the cooking of lean meat.

Excavation of the required 2x2-meter units around the thermal feature in 5RB8902 revealed post impressions of a surface habitation structure. Expansion of the excavation area into a 3x3-meter square revealed impressions of eight posts situated in a circular pattern two meters in diameter with an apparent doorway facing east – characteristics of a small, conical, post-framed lodge. It was apparently assembled just after or during a storm that softened the clayey surface soil so that post and other impressions were formed. Namely, the additional excavations also revealed several moccasin prints and a deer track preserved in the hardened clay of the structure’s floor.

This study has presented information that can be used to better identify cultural components of single- or several-component open camps. As well, it has provided evidence that radiocarbon dating of the small camps (and not comparative diagnostic analysis) is the only way to accurately determine the regional distribution of various cultural groups’ activities and thus glean some idea of their purpose. Accordingly, the scientific potentials of 5RB4558 and the BLM portion of 5RB8902 have been exhausted and no further work is recommended.

To learn more about the work conducted on these sites, click here:

Ongoing Projects

Ute Trails Project
Colorado Wickiup Project

Rock Art Project
Western Colorado Bison Project

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Ongoing Research

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