Prehistoric artifacts are inherently fragile. Excessive handling leads to damage by weakening the materials from which the artifacts are made, especially organic materials such as plants, feathers, and animal hide. Oils from skin leach into organic materials, speeding the deterioration process. In addition, exposure to light embrittles and discolors organic materials. With this in mind, handling the artifacts is discouraged.
Museum Policy on Access to the Mantle's Cave Collection
The Mantle's Cave collection is currently safeguarded at the University of Colorado Museum in the anthropology collection, with the utmost attention to preservation. Controlling the amount of handling and light exposure is critical to protecting these fragile artifacts.
To fulfill our dual mission of fostering research and conserving research collections, the Museum has provided online digital images of the most outstanding artifacts from Mantle's Cave. Online images allow us to simultaneously make the collection available and preserve it.
To ensure that these valuable artifacts are available for future generations, the anthropology section strictly limits access to them. Researchers writing for scholarly publication may request access to the Mantle's Cave artifacts by contacting
the anthropology collection manager or anthropology curator.