The 5th Frozen Pasts International Conference

Registration is closed;
the conference is at capacity.

We look forward to seeing all the participants soon.

Frozen Pasts: The international gathering for glacial and ice patch archaeology and all research oriented toward the human dimensions of frozen environments at all latitudes and on all continents.

Join other archaeologists, anthropologists, ecologists, and geologists to share new findings and plan collaborative research activities.

Update: 10 August 2021

The conference has reached our COVID and transportation capacity. Late registration has closed. Abstracts have been accepted and posted.

Update: 15 July 2021

Due to ongoing travel issues with COVID-19, we have extended the registration and abstract deadline to 30 July 2021. We have also added a new "Abstract Only" registration option. This $100 option is for those who want to submit an abstract but will not be attending the meeting. The Abstract-Only registrants can send a talk video or physical poster which will be shown to the in-person attendees. We will email these registrants with more details.

Coronavirus considerations

We anticipate safely holding our in-person event in September. Some social distancing, personal masking, and extra ventilation may be needed to ensure the health and wellness of conference attendees like you, as well as resort employees and the local community. Together with our host, Chico Host Springs Resort, we continue to monitor the situation and will make changes as needed. See current COVID-19 policies for the Resort. As an additional level of protection, we expect attendees to be fully vaccinated by the start of the event.

Our event is in-person only (not online). It provides a rare opportunity to share your cutting-edge research with like-minded colleagues and to safely interact with them during meals, field trips, and soaks in the outdoor hot pools. Fostering such meaningful dialogue is a main goal of the Conference and why we are dedicated to an in-person event. Moreover, our field trips are best experienced in person.

Rugged Montana landscape adjacent a flat plain and winding river near the Chico Hot Springs Resort

Tuesday to Friday, 7-10 Sept. 2021. Pray, Montana, USA.

  • Chico Hot Springs Resort - a historic hotel and restaurant with a large hot springs pool.
  • Physical space is limited. If the coronavirus situation worsens, we will accept fewer attendees.

Register and submit your abstract early. Talk slots are limited; after they are filled, your only presentation option will be a poster.

  • Icebreaker (07 Sept, Tuesday eve).
  • Oral presentations (Wednesday - Friday).
  • Poster presentations (Thursday).
  • In-conference field trips (Wednesday & Thursday).
    • Anzick site (Late Pleistocene, Clovis-era burial).
    • Yellowstone Heritage Research Center (Combined “Archaeology on Ice” and “Archaeology Out of Ice” exhibits featuring Alaskan and the Greater Yellowstone Area projects).

See Program  

image 1: Small ice patches high up in the mountains of the Greater Yellowstone Area.  Image 2: Two large bison graze on grass, with river and evergreen trees in background.

Saturday 11 Sept. Optional post-conference tour of ice patches via Yellowstone National Park

We will visit ice patches in the Greater Yellowstone Area and travel through Yellowstone National Park's beautiful Lamar Valley on this all-day tour, which includes a 3 km hike at 3200 m (10,500 feet). After the tour, you can be dropped off at Chico (early evening) or in Bozeman at the Hilton hotels (ca. 8:00 PM).

$65/person, maximum of 52 people.

To secure a spot, buy your tour while registering. You can add a tour later only if space is still available.

See Tour details

Plenary talks

Portait of Aaron Brien, with short hair and glasses, wearing a woven cowboy hat

“Where They Made A Bed: Understanding fasting culture of the Apsáalooke and its connection to high-altitude sites”

Aaron Brien -
Crow Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Officer

On Wednesday, Brien will provide a basic understanding of a type of high-altitude archaeological site represented by the cultural practice of fasting, often referred to as "vision questing". He will share the spiritual importance of these high places for the Apsáalooke peoples and the elements that make these places important, ranging from animals to snow and ice.

Portait of D. Lynette St. Clair, with dark hair and wearing a dark-colored top.

Dumuh Newe' dus Beeya Sogope: Our People and Mother Earth”

D. Lynette St. Clair -
Shoshone, Indian Education Director & Cultural Preservationist

On Thursday, St. Clair will provide a tribal perspective of the Eastern Shoshone people and their connection to the land and the Greater Yellowstone area.

Friday banquet talk

Portait of Aaron Brien, with short hair and glasses, wearing a woven cowboy hat

“Glacial archaeology and human use of high altitudes in the Mongolian Altai”

Dr. William Taylor -
Curator of Archaeology, Assist. Professor of Anthropology, Univ. of Colorado Boulder

From early human dispersals to the rise of Genghis Khan, Mongolia's high mountains have played a key role in some of humanity's most important social and environmental transitions. However, a coherent understanding of the region's past is hampered by the scarcity of the archaeological record, which has been worn thin through millennia of grazing and active geology. High altitude permanent snow and ice accumulations, known as ice patches, are a rare exception - preserving unique insights into the environmental and cultural history of Mongolia's alpine areas... More info

Talks & poster presentations

View individual abstracts

Image 1: A stark, beautiful alpine scene showing a large ice patch on a steep slope.  Image 2: Native American man and researcher looks past the viewer and into the distance

Yellowstone: Apt base for an international gathering

Home base for the 2021 conference is the Greater Yellowstone area (Montana/ Wyoming), one of the most active regions for ice patch archaeology in North America. A wooden atlatl dart foreshaft from this region was 14C dated to about 10,300 years ago. The Yellowstone area is important to many Native American tribes, who participate in the research and connect it with their ancestors and other indigenous peoples.

Yellowstone is just one of many international locations that will be discussed during three exciting days of presentations. Together, the locations span latitudes and continents.


Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research

University of Colorado Boulder

INSTAAR's researchers (including graduate and undergraduate students) tackle environmental science challenges that span local, regional, and global scales.

Learn about INSTAAR

Alpine Science Institute

Central Wyoming College

Located in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, ASI is a sustainably-minded field school for Outdoor Education, Anthropology, Outdoor Recreation, Environmental Science, and Expedition Science.

Learn about ASI

T. Weber Greiser


Greiser has decades of field, management, and investigator experience on archaeological and cultural resources projects across the Western U.S. He is the current president of the Montana Archaeological Society.

More about Greiser

Your organization here?

Be a sponsor

Please consider sponsoring this conference to reach and support a specific audience of scientists.

Contact Craig M. Lee


30 July 2021

Abstract & registration due

Late registration will be offered if space is still available.



Craig M. Lee
E. James Dixon


Wendy Roth



Alden Yépez
Matthew Stirn
Rebecca Sgouros


Frozen Pasts 1-4

1. Bern 2008
2. Trondheim 2010
3. Whitehorse 2012
4. Innsbruck 2016

camera icon modified from