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The Donkey Kong Project

Project area in Pueblo County, Colorado.

At the beginning of 2022, Community Connections LLC (CCLLC) partnered with Be About Bliss, Evolution Laboratories, LLC (Evo Labs), and approximately 16 other profit and non-profit partners that focus on generating a positive impact in their communities. This looks like:

  • Community connection among students and youth

  • Supporting veterans

  • Providing food and clothing to the needy

  • Prisoner outreach

  • Supporting women-owned businesses

  • Advocacy for men’s mental health

  • Addressing homelessness

  • Promoting renewable energy

  • Preserving natural environments

  • Practicing good land stewardship

  • Educating the community on the importance of heritage and cultural sensitivity through archaeology

Donkey Kong project area.
Jess (left) and Jasmine (right) taking a break from survey.

The mission of these partnerships is to have a central location that community services can be accessed. To make this mission a reality, Evo Labs purchased 475 acres of land in Pueblo County, Colorado, that will be used as the home base or "Moonbass" for community-driven events, fundraising, education, and recreation. STEM or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), as it is now called, is a large focus of this project. The vision is to create a "mini campus" for underprivileged youth in the community to learn more about the sciences and arts and to promote future career paths. Education like this is where CCLLC comes in! We were contacted by Evo Labs early in 2022 to partner with them in creating educational content on archaeology, starting with a Class III archaeological survey of areas that will be used for facilities.

Partners from the project helping with survey.

Class III or Phase III archaeological survey, or sometimes referred to as cultural resource inventory, means that a survey is professionally conducted by walking the landscape of an entire project area. This looks like Jasmine and Jess walking about 15-20 meters apart across the landscape - back and forth - looking for any artifacts or features of an archaeological site. We surveyed a total of 147.23 acres and we had a blast!!

So why the heck is it called project Donkey Kong? If you look at an aerial view of the property, you'll see that it looks like a giant donkey! In fondness, the project came to be known as Donkey Kong.

Aerial view of the Donkey Kong project area with marked survey areas.

The reason we started with archaeology is because once you develop something on the landscape, if there are any cultural resources, they could be destroyed, damaged, or misplaced. When this happens, part of our historical record is lost. We can no longer tell the story of this landscape as accurately as we once could have before it was disturbed.

Development is a necessary part of our society but HOW we develop is an important factor to consider when disturbing natural and historic environments. CCLLC is happy to be a part of this project as it not only promotes community resources, but it also provides an example of good land stewardship.

View from the Donkey Kong project area.

To perform this work, one of our non-profit partners, Be About Bliss applied for an archaeological assessment grant through History Colorado in partnership with Evo Labs and CCLLC. Thank YOU, History Colorado! The grant was approved and in October 2022, Jess and Jasmine headed out to Pueblo County, Colorado, to do some archaeology and find what's out there!!

Jess on survey at the Donkey Kong project.

Spoiler alert: We found quite a bit! 🤩

Three sites were found and recorded along with LOTS of artifacts. In the next blog post will talk all about the artifacts we found. They are SOOO neat! There are hundreds of pieces of purple glass (amethyst), aqua glass and ceramics that date to the early 1900s. It seems probable that this area was once a homestead. Although no structures remain, the artifacts are high quality items and related to a household from the early 1900s.

  1. Intact amethyst glass medicine bottle.

  2. Ceramic shed with blue floral pattern.

  3. Amethyst glass sherds with a small “B” and large “F” embossed. Notice there's two peices that fit together! Finding two sherds that fit together is always such a fulfilling find in archaeology!

Subscribe right now to catch the next blog post about the family who may have left these artifacts!

Example of a geodesic dome that will be used for educational content.

The next step involves Y-O-U, the community! We'll be working with Evo Labs to build content for a special geodesic dome that will house all kinds of fun activities and information about archaeology. These dome spaces are unique because they are not permanent and can be arranged on the landscape as needed. They also allow for a 3D experience with projected images inside the dome that bring your content to LIFE! We are thrilled to be able to use this sweet space for archaeology!

Jasmine on survey pointing to the different layers of sediment within Rush Creek.

Our first community engagement event will be happening this summer! Jasmine and Jess will be out in Pueblo County sharing all of the neat archaeology we did on the landscape AND the history we found connected to it ~ how about the troublemaking Buffington brothers, anyone!? We'll share more in our next blog! Dates will be announced in the next month so be sure to follow us on social media @communityconnectionsllc or subscribe to our website for updates.

Jasmine (left) and Jess (right)

We're so excited to continue this work into the 2023 season and beyond. We'll be posting updates to our blog so make sure you subscribe!

We've got even more projects to share with you, but we'll save those for our next post in 2 weeks!

See you soon!

Jasmine & Jess (J&J) 🌳

Find us on IG and FB


➡️ In our next blog we'll talk about some of the artifacts we found at the Donkey Kong project and the history behind the Buffington brothers!

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Unknown member
May 05, 2023

Awesome! Sounds like a great partnership and an awesome survey! Looking forward to hearing more about both!

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