Landscapers Find Ancient Stone Tools in Boulder Front Yard

By Ryan Haarer,



BOULDER – Landscapers digging in a Boulder front yard in 2008 hit a sack full of tools that would launch years of analysis by anthropologists at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The specific location of the home will not be revealed, but CU says the tools were dug out near Chautauqua Park. Experts believe the tools are 13,000 years old.

“I knew what I was looking at was completely unique in Boulder County. I knew the material was from a really long way away,” said CU anthropology professor Douglas Bamforth.

The homeowner, Patrick Mahaffy agreed to loan the collection to the university to study and display. Landscapers were trying to build a koi pond when they hit the tools. Mahaffy called Bamforth to learn more.

“We expect people to move long distances but showing that it’s true is very hard. I think that’s a reasonable argument to make from the Mahaffy cache. I think we can actually see people walking from Utah to boulder over a single trip, maybe a month,” Bamforth said.