Sustained Research: 40 years of Crow Canyon’s Ancestral Pueblo Community Center Archaeology

When Stuart Struever co-founded Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in 1982, he recognized the need for an institution that could conduct and support long-term research in American Archaeology. Perhaps nothing illustrates the value of this vision more than Crow Canyon’s sustained research into the central Mesa Verde region community centers, which are the largest Ancestral Pueblo sites in the region, many with the longest occupation histories. The history of Crow Canyon’s research into community centers has involved many research associates, regional archaeologists, institutions, and tribal consultants. This work began when the Crow Canyon archaeologists mapped Sand Canyon Pueblo in 1983 and expanded to regional studies in 1989; the documentation and analysis of community centers and Ancestral Pueblo Cultural Heritage continues to this day. This talk discusses a historical review of this research and analyzes the current community center database that documents 263 of the largest Ancestral Pueblo villages in southwestern Colorado.