The significance of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Centers Basketmaker Communities project was recently recognized by the History Colorado State Historical Fund with a grant totaling $189,365, according to a written release from Crow Canyon. The State Historical Fund grant will support continued fieldwork, laboratory analyses, and education programs as part of the project, in addition to collections research with the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU) in 2013.
The Basketmaker Communities Project, a multiyear study initiated in 2011, focuses on a pivotal, but underinvestigated and poorly understood, time in Pueblo history: the Basketmaker III period (A.D. 500750). During that period, the population in the central Mesa Verde region boomed as Pueblo people began migrating into the area, settling in areas of good farmland.
Where the settlers came from and exactly how and when the first communities formed are among the questions Crow Canyon archaeologists hope to answer. What they learn should help researchers better understand not just early Pueblo history but also the development of complex societies in other parts of the world where the archaeological record isnt as well preserved as it is in the American Southwest.
In 2013 Crow Canyon archaeologists will continue work within the 1,200-acre Indian Camp Ranch, the private residential community that encompasses the study area. They will conduct surveying and testing at selected archaeological sites, continue excavations at the Dillard site (located at Indian Camp Ranch), and perform laboratory analyses focusing on environmental reconstruction and chronometry (site dating). In addition, Crow Canyon researchers will collaborate with CU on analysis of an artifact collection from the Yellow Jacket site in southwestern Colorado, comparing Basketmaker III materials in that collection to those found at Indian Camp Ranch.