Named after the state’s first historic preservation officer, Stephen H. Hart, this award has honored projects and individuals for their achievements in historic preservation and archaeology throughout Colorado since 1986.
LaBelle received the Hart Archaeology Award and is being recognized by History Colorado for the diverse breadth of his state-wide archaeological accomplishments. As Director of the CMPA, LaBelle is engaged in a broad spectrum of work in archeology including research, teaching, contract work, public outreach, and tours of archaeological sites. “I see what I do as a service to the people of Colorado to let them know about the past peoples of Colorado,” said LaBelle, the need for active and engaged archaeologists in the public sphere in Colorado.
LaBelle often works with the public to record items of archaeological interest that they have found and has been involved in archaeological projects throughout the state, focusing on projects in the Great Plains and the Southern Rocky Mountains. As the former Vice President and President of the Colorado Archeological Society, LaBelle actively worked on bridging the gap between academic and community interests in archeology.
Colorado State University Archaeology students are prepared for a career in archaeology through LaBelle’s Archaeology Field School, offered every summer. The Field School gives students the opportunity for hands-on archaeological training and offers them a gateway to find jobs once they graduate.
In addition to his work across the state, LaBelle helped to secure a $1 million dollar gift to the Department of Anthropology, which established the James and Audrey Benedict Mountain Archaeology Endowment and the Center for Mountain and Plains Archaeology. The gift has allowed the archaeology program to offer greater access to resources for students including a comprehensive collection of artifacts, a high alpine laboratory and expanded research and teaching spaces.
LaBelle’s dedication to a broad scope of archaeology engages the public and touches many sectors. Rather than pursuing one narrow academic focus, LaBelle has dedicated his career to reaching all communities invested Colorado archaeology including students, the public, academia, and land agencies. LaBelle will be recognized for his accomplishments at the 27th Annual History Colorado Awards Ceremony on February 6th in Denver.