By Bill Wilson


How many people are buried in Alvarado Cemetery? How many of them died in any given year, and who are they? How can unmarked graves be located? Members of the Devil's Gate History Club will be learning the answers to questions like these on Friday, Oct 18, when archeologist Mona Charles and two associates will present "Alvarado Cemetery -- Revisited." The meeting will start at 7 p. m. at the Georgetown Community Center, 613 6th Street. The public is invited, and there is no charge.


Charles recently directed a team from Fort Lewis College in a mapping study of the Alvarado, Glendale, and St. Mary's cemeteries on Alvarado Road, northeast of Georgetown. The investigations were sponsored by Clear Creek Rotary 2000 and the Idaho Springs Masonic Lodge. At the Alvarado Cemetery, the researchers used a Total Station Electronic Measuring Device that provided the coordinates of each headstone. Each headstone was also digitally photographed, and the historical data inscribed on each were recorded and entered into a database. At the other two cemeteries, digital photographs were taken of each headstone and existing records were used to complete the database. The database, maps, and photographs were combined into a Geographical Information System (GIS), so that images and databases may be viewed in the same program.


The team also conducted a pilot study using three different remote sensing techniques to determine if unmarked graves could be located. Charles is a research associate and director of the Archeological Field School at Fort Lewis College. She has a Master of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of Nebraska. Her interests and fields of expertise include field archeology, geoarcheology, high-altitude archeology, and prehistoric hunter-gatherers. She is also the owner of Powderhorn Research an archeological and geoarcheological consulting firm.


In her presentation, she will be assisted by Haley Harms, a student who worked on the mapping, and Christine Markussen, a staff member who is an expert in GIS. The three will give PowerPoint presentation.


© Clear Creek Courant October 9, 2002