Unearthing the Past at Bent’s New Fort


Student at Bent's New Fort Dig

Student at Bent’s New Fort Dig

Several local students and some from the archeology department at the University of Colroado, Colorado Springs, were at the dig site of Bent’s New Fort earlier this month.  Under the guidance of Richard Carrillo of Cuartelejo HP Associates of La junta, the students used small shovels and metal detectors to probe the remains of William Bent’s new fort in eastern Bent County. 

Excavation Site

Excavation Site


The fort, constructed in the early 1850s, was used first as a successor to the original Bent’s Fort Trading Post and later as a military post.  The site is currently owned by Brad Semmens of Lamar and by Gary McCall of Walsh.  The students were sifting through the 10 acre site, searching for items such as pottery shards, button, bullets or other artifacts dating back to the original years of the fort.  Pat Palmer, a local history enthusiast, said there are plans to partially reconstruct two of the stone walls of the fort.  When built over 150 years ago, the walls stood about 14 feet tall and were four feet thick.  The site was later named Fort Wise and Later Fort Lyon. 

John Carson and Richard Carrillo Inspect Dig Site

John Carson and Richard Carrillo Inspect Dig Site


The site is located off CR 35 from Highway 50.  Excavation work is being funded with grands from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program and the Colorado State Historical Fund.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: ArtcommunityCountyFeaturedHistorySchoolTourism


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