Uncovering the Mysteries of Colorado's Pueblo Communities
Help archaeologists uncover the mysteries of ancestral Pueblo great houses, allowing scientists to understand the cultural impacts of environmental changes in the past and plan for a changing future.
Spectacular buildings known as great houses were constructed in Chaco Canyon in present-day northwest New Mexico between A.D. 800 and 1140. Collectively, these great houses were the densest concentration of the largest buildings found anywhere in the ancestral Pueblo world.
One of the most interesting, but unresolved, questions about Pueblo history is the nature and extent of Chaco influence north of the San Juan River. How did Chaco influence extend into Southwest Colorado? What effect did a 50-year drought have on environmental resources and sustainability in this region and how did the residents respond to a changing climate? Help researchers find answers to these questions that are fundamental to understanding and reconstructing the prehispanic populations in Southwest Colorado.
You’ll join a group of archaeologists at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, located in Cortez, Colorado, to take part in hands-on archaeological fieldwork by excavating great houses on a site located on nearby private land. Data collected during this project will allow researchers to gain a greater understanding of resource sustainability, the natural and cultural impacts of environmental downturns, and the ever-changing relationship between humans and their environment. By understanding how the people of the ancestral Pueblo communities dealt with environmental changes, researchers will be able to better plan for natural downturns and resource depletion across the world in the present day and in the future.
A Typical Itinerary
- Day 1: Rendezvous at Durango airport, introduction to Crow Canyon and research
- Days 2-3: Fieldwork, remote sensing surveys (weather dependent)
- Day 4: Lab work and recreational time
- Days 5-6: Fieldwork, research wrap-up and summary
- Day 7: Departure
You also have the option of joining the expedition for two weeks.
HOW YOU WILL HELP
Excavate ancient households and public architecture
Most days, you’ll arrive at the dig immediately after breakfast and spend much of the day working with hand trowels, brooms, buckets, and screens to remove and identify artifacts and other archaeological finds. Your work may focus on the excavation of homes, middens (trash deposits), and the great houses.
Surveying for future excavation sites
Help with remote sensing surveys that identify likely areas of archaeological significance. Remote sensing tools are used to identify features beneath the ground that may have been overlooked by standard survey techniques. This activity is dependent on weather conditions.
Process artifacts recovered from excavations—pottery, lithics (stone tools), ground stone, and animal bone—which includes washing, sorting, cataloging, and labeling them.
Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
4 Reviews on this Expedition
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