Rotary Past President Kim Casteel introduced Dirksen and spoke about how as a professor at Lee University he and his wife, Carolyn, were always welcoming to students.
“They fed us. They let us hang out at their house, play their piano and sing,” Casteel recalled. “So, they have always been special friends of mine.”
Dirksen grew up on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona until the age of 14.
He began teaching at Lee in 1972 and did his postdoctorate at Duke University.
“Most of his research is in cultural anthropology, but in 1998 he joined archeology projects in Jordan as their cultural specialist,” Casteel said.
Dirksen said archeological records are like a library.
“You pull out a book and you open it. That’s what a hole is. You get your shovel, dig a hole and you try to find out what’s there,” Dirksen said.
He spoke about a dig at Eagle Rock Shelter located in southwest Colorado that he called “extremely interesting and exciting.”
Dirksen said there are only 15 sites in the United States as old as Eagle Rock, which is near what most know as the “Four Corners” area where the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet at a point.
“Rock shelters are used throughout the Southwest and are used by hunters and gathers when they follow the herds,” he said.
He said testing shows findings at the site date back as old as 12,000 B.C.
Dirksen also spoke of the intricate detail with which archeologists must record their findings.
“We go down 5 to 10 centimeters at a time, very precisely,” he said. “Everything we pick at is screened, it is put in a bag, we label it and put [precisely] where it was, and who found it,” he said.