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Leading archaeologist to speak on 13,000-year-old tools: The Mahaffy Cache


A landscaping company uncovered a collection of 83 stone artifacts in 2008 during an excavating job at Patrick Mahaffy’s home in Boulder, Colo. The tools were determined to be 13,000-year-old Clovis period artifacts. This unearthed collection, dubbed the Mahaffy Cache, is one of only a few in North America and its story will be presented to the northern Nevada community next week.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s Department of Anthropology welcomes Professor Douglas Bamforth from the University of Colorado as part of the Distinguished Lectureship in Archeology Series, presented by Western Cultural Resource Management, Inc. Bamforth’s presentation on the discovery of the Mahaffy Cache will be at 7 p.m., Sept. 29 in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center’s Wells Fargo Auditorium on campus and is open and free to the public. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.

“The fact that the tools were deposited as a single event and contain residues from ice-age animals essentially provides us with a snapshot in time of what hunter-gatherers were doing about 13,000 years ago,” said Geoffrey Smith, University of Nevada, Reno assistant professor in anthropology and executive director of the Great Basin Paleoindian Research Unit. “It’s a once in a lifetime find.”

Bamforth will give another free lecture in the Wells Fargo Auditorium at 4 p.m., Sept. 30, regarding bison hunting on the Great Plains during the late Holocene period. The Department of Anthropology, part of the College of Liberal Arts, brings visiting speakers to the University to provide faculty and students with opportunities to hear different perspectives on the past and foster new ideas between academic institutions.

“We are thrilled about Professor Bamforth’s visit and the establishment of the Distinguished Lectureship in Archaeology Series,” Smith said. “Dr. Bamforth’s visit will serve as a model for future installments of the series and help to generate interest within our department, among the campus community and general public.”

Bamforth received his doctorate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1986. He has worked on projects throughout the country and has numerous published articles and books.

For more information, go to www.unr.edu/anthropology or the University’s Anthropology Club’s Facebook page or contact Geoffrey Smith at 775-682-7687 or [email protected].

Photo cutline: Douglas Bamforth, anthropology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, left, and Patrick Mahaffy, show unearthed artifacts found about 2 feet below Mahaffy’s front yard at his house in Boulder during a landscaping project in 2008. Bamforth comes to the University of Nevada, Reno at 7 p.m., Sept. 29, for a free, public presentation on the discovery of the Mahaffy Cache.

Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of more than 18,000 students. The University is home to the state’s medical school and one of the country’s largest study-abroad programs, and offers outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties. For more information, visit www.unr.edu. The University of Nevada, Reno is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

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