Contribution starting at $2,595
Exported from Streamline App (https://app.streamlineicons.com)
7+ days (avg. $370 a day) Includes accommodations, food, and all related research costs
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Archaeology

Uncovering the Mysteries of Colorado's Pueblo Communities

Location
Cortez, Colorado, United States Map it
Lead Scientist
Activity Level
Easy
Accommodations
Couples Rooms possible
Internet access
Food
Shared meals
A Pueblo community site in Crow Canyon
Earthwatch volunteers take measurements at an excavation site (C) Laura St. Andrews
Earthwatch volunteers uncover Pueblo artifacts
Earthwatch volunteers uncover Pueblo artifacts
Earthwatch volunteers uncover Pueblo artifacts
Earthwatch teen volunteers log artifact data (C) Laura St. Andrews
A scenic view of the Earthwatch research site (C) Laura St. Andrews
A Pueblo community site in Crow Canyon
Earthwatch volunteers take measurements at an excavation site (C) Laura St. Andrews
Earthwatch volunteers uncover Pueblo artifacts
Earthwatch volunteers uncover Pueblo artifacts
Earthwatch volunteers uncover Pueblo artifacts
Earthwatch teen volunteers log artifact data (C) Laura St. Andrews
A scenic view of the Earthwatch research site (C) Laura St. Andrews

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.


Earthwatch volunteers take measurements

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

Surrounded by a spectacular view, you will work with Crow Canyon researchers to:
Excavate ancient households and public architecture (C) Laura St. Andrews
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.

Earthwatch volunteers survey for future excavation sites (C) Laura St. Andrews
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.

Earthwatch volunteers analyze artifacts in a lab (C) Laura St. Andrews
Lab analysis

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.

FEEDBACK & QUESTIONS

4 Reviews on this Expedition

If you have been on this expedition, others considering attending would love to hear about your experience.
Warren Stortroen | October 17, 2017
MY SINCERE THANKS TO SUSAN RYAN AND THE REST OF THE CROW CANYON STAFF FOR HOSTING SUCH A WONDERFUL CELEBRATION FOR ME! ALSO, THANKS FOR THE CAKE, THE GOLDEN TROWEL AND THE SIGNED, FRAMED PICTURE OF MY FIVE EXPEDITIONS AT CROW CANYON. AND, THANKS TO SCOTT, STACY AND MARY FROM EARTHWATCH FOR ATTENDING AND PRESENTING ME WITH GREAT MEMENTOS FROM THE EARTHWATCH STAFF! I ALWAYS ENJOY MY VISITS TO CROW CANYON, BUT THIS WAS ESPECIALLY GREAT! THIS WAS THE FIRST YEAR OF EXCAVATIONS AT THE HAYNIE SITE WHICH IS CONSIDERED TO BE A CHACO OUTLIER. WE ANALYZED THE WALL CONSTRUCTION AND THE MORTAR USED, AND DID SURFACE EXCAVATIONS IN AREAS THAT HAD BEEN DISTURBED. WE FOUND SOME NICE PROJECTILE POINTS AND TWO BONE AWLS AS WELL AS A GOOD DEAL OF POTTERY FROM THE PUEBLO II PERIOD, AND STARTED TO DEFINE SOME WALLS, BUT i HAD NO SPECTACULAR FINDS. MAYBE NEXT YEAR! WARREN STORTROEN
Sandra Larkin | October 9, 2017
This was an awesome opportunity and experience. You will learn about the past, present, and future and will be a part of discovering a period of time that has made a difference for where we are today in America. Just do it! You will be amazed at your involvement and excited to be a part of something that truly matters.
Sheila Cooke-Kayser | September 9, 2017
Uncovering the Mysteries of the Colorado Pueblo Communities is a fantastic program! This was my first Earth Watch experience and it far exceeded my expectations! The Crow Canyon staff are extremely knowledgeable plus do a great hob working with the public! Dr. Ryan illustrated how our participation furthers their research and impacts their goals and mission! Relating an ancient culture to people today is very important to help us not repeat failures, but improve our lives. Crow Canyon staff do a great job helping the participants make intellectual and emotional connections with the meanings of the archaeological resources and the people associated with these resources. Holding a corrugated potsherd where you could see the ancient person's fingernail imprint on the clay is truly amazing or seeing the skill of an ancient artist's work in the painted design on another potsherd is incredible!

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