Historians, Archaeologists Search Traditional Sand Creek Site For Artifacts

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, historian Fred Werner, made many trips to the traditional Sand Creek site to search for artifacts. He was joined by fellow historians and they meticulously scanned the area below the bluff with metal detectors. 

This stone marker sat on that bluff at the traditional site for over 70 years.

One colleague that joined him was Larry Finnell. He was very accomplished metal detecting other historical sites. He found hundreds of period artifacts at the Summit Springs site near Sterling, CO. He also operated a metal detector business. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Colorado State University and worked for thirty years with the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The Jewell County Historical Society Museum in Mankato, Kansas displays his Summit Springs artifacts.

At that time, the site was owned by Bill Dawson. 

Werner wrote about his visits to the site in his book, The Sand Creek Fight. He and his companions would often visit with Dawson and then search for artifacts. On one visit, “We worked a short distance upstream and then also downstream, covering at least forty to fifty yards in width, on both sides of the stream. I’m sorry to say that we found only junk items.” At a battle scene such as this, some bullets would be expected. “We found no battle artifacts,” Werner said.

No bullets, no battlefield. 

Werner made the same or similar comments throughout his book stating they did not find any period artifacts. Traditionally, the story is told that the Indians were camped below that bluff when the soldiers attacked them by surprise. 

After many years searching, what was his conclusion? 

We go into more detail about his searches and conclusion in our book. 

Another search took place at a different spot on Sand Creek by Chuck and Sheri Bowen, starting in 1995. 

They didn’t come away with junk items. 

They actually found over 4,000 period artifacts. 

What did they find? And where did they find it? 

One thing is for sure, artifacts do not lie. Chuck documented his finds with a photo and the GPS coordinate which paints a picture of how things happened and where at the November 29, 1864 Sand Creek event. 

Were any artifacts found below that bluff, or were they found in a different spot on Sand Creek? 

The story of the artifacts needs to be told. 

Learn about it here: Click the Buy the Book tab in the top right of the page or you can also get our book here: WeFoundTheLostSandCreekSite

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