Indigenous knowledge helps untangle mystery of Mesa Verde

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Indigenous knowledge helps untangle mystery of Mesa Verde

Pueblo people and archaeologists work to understand the science of human migrations
Drummers, including Arthur Cruz (far left, face turned away), play for dancers at the 2014 feast day of St. John the Baptist, in northern New Mexico’s Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.
Arthur Cruz at his home in New Mexico’s Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. Cruz regularly makes pilgrimages to the Mesa Verde region, which is referenced in his tribe’s oral histories.
Ancient structures at the head of the McElmo Canyon, below Sleeping Ute Mountain in the Mesa Verde region of southwestern Colorado, photographed by William Henry Jackson in 1874.
A prehistoric trail worn into the rock at Tsankawi Mesa in what’s now Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, where the Tewa paused during the 15th and 16th centuries en route to their current homes in the northern Rio Grande Valley.
Mark Varien, vice president of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colorado, was part of the Village Ecodynamics Project, which analyzed 18,000 sites in the Mesa Verde region, plus another 7,000 near the Rio Grande.
A map based on research from the project shows that the number of people who “disappeared” from Mesa Verde during the 1200s was roughly the same as the number of people who moved into the Tewa Basin shortly thereafter.
Professor Scott Ortman, one of the researchers in the Village Ecodynamics Project, uses nontraditional methods to study theories about what happened to the people of Mesa Verde.
A man hikes past unexcavated remains of a building at Yucca House National Monument in southwest Colorado, home to Ancestral Pueblo people from 1150 to around 1300, when they “disappeared.”
A simulation of Yucca House, below Sleeping Ute Mountain in the Mesa Verde region of Southwest Colorado. Reconstruction by Dennis R. Holloway, architect; aerial photo by Adriel Heisey.
Isaiah Viarrial, left, of Pojoaque Pueblo and CU student Frank Delaney work at an archaeological site in Cuyamungue, New Mexico. Archaeologist Scott Ortman turns to the Tewa people as part of his research, visiting archaeological sites with them and studying language and oral histories.

Indigenous knowledge helps untangle mystery of Mesa Verde

Drummers, including Arthur Cruz (far left, face turned away), play for dancers at the 2014 feast day of St. John the Baptist, in northern New Mexico’s Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.
Arthur Cruz at his home in New Mexico’s Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. Cruz regularly makes pilgrimages to the Mesa Verde region, which is referenced in his tribe’s oral histories.
Ancient structures at the head of the McElmo Canyon, below Sleeping Ute Mountain in the Mesa Verde region of southwestern Colorado, photographed by William Henry Jackson in 1874.
A prehistoric trail worn into the rock at Tsankawi Mesa in what’s now Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, where the Tewa paused during the 15th and 16th centuries en route to their current homes in the northern Rio Grande Valley.
Mark Varien, vice president of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colorado, was part of the Village Ecodynamics Project, which analyzed 18,000 sites in the Mesa Verde region, plus another 7,000 near the Rio Grande.
A map based on research from the project shows that the number of people who “disappeared” from Mesa Verde during the 1200s was roughly the same as the number of people who moved into the Tewa Basin shortly thereafter.
Professor Scott Ortman, one of the researchers in the Village Ecodynamics Project, uses nontraditional methods to study theories about what happened to the people of Mesa Verde.
A man hikes past unexcavated remains of a building at Yucca House National Monument in southwest Colorado, home to Ancestral Pueblo people from 1150 to around 1300, when they “disappeared.”
A simulation of Yucca House, below Sleeping Ute Mountain in the Mesa Verde region of Southwest Colorado. Reconstruction by Dennis R. Holloway, architect; aerial photo by Adriel Heisey.
Isaiah Viarrial, left, of Pojoaque Pueblo and CU student Frank Delaney work at an archaeological site in Cuyamungue, New Mexico. Archaeologist Scott Ortman turns to the Tewa people as part of his research, visiting archaeological sites with them and studying language and oral histories.
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