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Coloring Book Journeys Through Prehistoric Time


Writing has only been around about 5,000 years, so it’s the work of archaeologists to figure out the stories of early humans before there was a written record. Laramie-based archaeologist Rich Adams has just published the World Prehistory Coloring Book, relaying those 3.5 million years.


After working in Wyoming for 24 years he started teaching university courses, and he said he found students would get overwhelmed and intimidated because there’s just so much to learn.

Adams credits his wife -- an art therapist -- with encouraging him to incorporate art into his class. “The World Prehistory Coloring Book was created because I needed attendance exercises in my classes,” Adams said. “I also discovered that having college students color during class dropped the stress level markedly.”

The simple handouts he asked his students to color and turn in helped them stay engaged with the material according to Adams. He said the positive response he got from students inspired him to create something for a wider audience, so Adams worked with Fort Collins-based graphic artist Brian Loner to create the World Prehistory Coloring Book.


“This book distills it down to 30 images that cover 3.5 million years of human prehistory and is global in scale,” said Adams. “And also illustrates the lives of women and children which most archaeology textbooks and world prehistory textbooks don’t do.”


Adams said he hopes the book appeals to everyone from academics to young kids and their grandparents. The book is available online, and Adams said it should be more widely available in Wyoming and Colorado soon.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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