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December 14, 2012
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Learn about Pueblo Indians at Monday event in Avon

VAIL - On Monday, renowned Southwestern archaeologist Dr. Mark Varien, who is research and education chair at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, will discuss a groundbreaking study of ancestral Pueblo society and its implications for our world today. Dr. Varien received his B.A. in archaeological studies (1976) and his M.A. in anthropology (1984) from the University of Texas at Austin. He was also awarded a Ph.D. in anthropology from Arizona State University in 1997.

His lecture, "Deep Ecology of Pueblo Indian Society: Lessons for the Future," which is cosponsored by Walking Mountains Science Center, the Vail Symposium and the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, will be held at the Frechette Field Studies Base Camp building at the Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon.

A pre-event reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a post-event reception to allow participants the opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Varien and engage with fellow attendees. The event is a continuation of a popular lecture presented by Dr. Varien in August: "The Roots of Modern Civilization," which was sponsored by both Walking Mountains and the Vail Symposium.

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, in partnership with Indian tribes and a multidisciplinary team of scientists from across America, is conducting an innovative study of the long-term interactions between humans and their environment. Known as the Village Ecodynamics Project (VEP), the study examines Pueblo Indian society in the Southwest from A.D. 600 to 1600. The focus is the Neolithic Revolution, the period when hunting and gathering was replaced by domesticated food production. For Pueblo Indians, this was the time they adopted corn farming and domesticated turkeys.

The VEP employs three major studies: an innovative computer simulation, the analysis of about 25,000 archaeological sites, and an experimental farming project designed by scientists and Pueblo Indians. VEP researchers are creating a detailed reconstruction of the ancient environment and how precipitation and temperature changed annually during that time period. This environmental reconstruction is the basis for an innovative and sophisticated computer simulation in which virtual Pueblo farm families settle the landscape. The virtual families find locations suitable for farming, collect wood for fuel and water for drinking, hunt deer and rabbits, and exchange goods with their neighbors when these activities don't meet their needs.

VEP examines a constellation of factors that also describe the world we live in today: the intersection of transformative technological change, exponential population growth, human impact on the environment and climate change. Dr. Varien will explain the results of the study, what it can teach us about our shared human past and the choices we face as we shape our collective future.

To register online, go to the Vail Symposium website, www.vailsymposium.org, or call the Symposium office at 970-476-0954. Cost for the lecture is $10 per person, and may be paid online or at the door. Space is limited to 100 people, so early registration is encouraged.


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The VailDaily Updated Dec 14, 2012 04:58PM Published Dec 14, 2012 04:55PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.