Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

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For the historic site in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, see Crow Canyon Archaeological District.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Anasazi Map USA1.png
Location of the archaeological center (point 1 near the Rio Grande) within Anasazi territory (green area) in Colorado
Cortez, Colorado
United States
Coordinates 37°21′16″N 108°37′13″W / 37.354454°N 108.620416°W / 37.354454; -108.620416Coordinates: 37°21′16″N 108°37′13″W / 37.354454°N 108.620416°W / 37.354454; -108.620416
Founded 1974 (1974)
Founder Dr. Edward Berger
Category Archaeology teaching and research center

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is a 170-acre (69 ha) research center and "living classroom" located in southwestern Colorado, USA, which offers experiential education programs for students and adults.

Crow Canyon is a center for archaeological research, education, and preservation of the history of the Ancient Pueblo peoples, who lived on and in the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde more than seven centuries ago. Established by private cultural initiatives that continue the work of American benefactors, the center provides hands-on programs for people to experience archaeological excavation of Native American sites.

Brief history[edit]

Crow Canyon began with Dr. Edward Berger, a history teacher from Denver who brought his students to Colorado for outdoor trips. Berger and his wife Joanne purchased 70 acres (28 ha) of pine and juniper forest just outside the town of Cortez, establishing the Crow Canyon School as an outdoor education center in 1974. Berger developed the first training programs where students helped excavate under the supervision of archaeologists.

The Crow Canyon School was purchased in 1983 by the Center for American Archaeology. New housing was built and professional archaeologists were hired. The Center began conducting an archaeological research program under the direction of Dr. Stuart Struever, who was then an anthropology professor at Northwestern University.

In 1985, the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center became independent of the Center for American Archaeology with funding from Denver oil tycoon Ray Duncan. As a not-for-profit organization, the Center has been focused on public education and outreach.

Since its foundation, the mission of Crow Canyon has been to preserve and protect the rich heritage of the ancient Pueblo Indians (or Anasazi) of the American Southwest.[1] Archaeological research has been conducted in the Mesa Verde region with the goal of teaching archaeology through hands-on experience. Students and teachers alike are invited to participate in research in the archeological camp.

Key initiatives include education, research, and cultural programs. President and CEO Deborah Gangloff defines Crow Canyon's programs as an opportunity: " to not only learn archaeology and do archaeology...but also to have some fun ".[2]

Excavation sites[edit]

There are several excavation sites at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. They may be used as part of the Center's programs for further excavation and study.

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Sites[3]
Site name Location Type Description Photo
Albert Porter Pueblo (also called Hedrick Ruin) Yellow Jacket, Montezuma, Colorado Great house Northern San Juan Pueblo ruins from AD 1000 to 1300. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 (#99000266).
Castle Rock pueblo Great house Ruins in southwestern Colorado. Includes the remains of at least 16 kivas, 40 surface rooms, nine possible towers, and a D-shaped enclosure.
Shields pueblo Ruins in southwestern Colorado.
Woods Canyon Pueblo Yellow Jacket, Montezuma, Colorado Great house Northern San Juan pueblo ruins from AD 1000 to 1300 consisting of as many as 200 rooms, 50 kivas, and 16 towers, and possibly a plaza. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 (#99000652).
Yellow Jacket pueblo Yellow Jacket, Montezuma, Colorado Great house Mesa Verde culture ruins from AD 1000 to 1300. Covering 100 acres, the pueblo contains at least 195 kivas (including a probable great kiva), 19 towers, a possible Chaco-era great house, and as many as 1,200 surface rooms. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 (#85002701). Site ID 5MT5.

See also[edit]

Other neighboring Ancient Pueblo sites in Colorado:

Other cultures in the Four Corners region:


  1. ^ License not-for-profit N°. 46-438 State of Colorado , USA
  2. ^ podcast interview with Dr. Deborah Gangloff, 2010
  3. ^ National Register of Historic Places in Montezuma, Colorado American Dreams. Retrieved 10-6-2011.

External links[edit]