Site Overview

Site Number


History of the Site Name

Named for the canyon in and above which (along the rim) the village was built

Other Names

Name Comment
Site 5MT131 (no name) Original site number assigned by Eric Varney, Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, 30 June 1965; photocopy of site form on file, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
Woods Canyon Ruins Fewkes 1919*1:32

Site Type

Habitation site with public architecture

Site Boundary Description

Boundaries defined by the extent of architectural remains. North boundary is immediately north of the canyon rim; east boundary is a maximum of 50 m west of a side drainage; west boundary is up to 50 m east of another side drainage; south boundary is in canyon bottom, approximately 25 m north of the main drainage of the canyon.

Site Size

7.8 acres (3.2 hectares), based on boundaries defined by visible architecture

Site Composition and Layout

Surface remains consist of standing structures and walls, rubble mounds that denote roomblocks and towers, kiva depressions, artifact scatters that indicate the locations of midden areas, a relatively flat, open area that indicates a possible plaza, multiple checkdams, and petroglyphs. The results of mapping and subsurface testing indicate that 50 kivas (10 definite, 24 probable, 16 possible) and 16 towers (14 probable, two possible) are present. The number of surface rooms is difficult to estimate because of the effects of erosion; however, the number of kiva depressions and the quantity of wall rubble suggest that there were between 120 and 220 surface rooms (Lipe 1995*2:1). The architectural remains are found on the canyon rim, at the base of a 35- to 40-ft cliff, on a steep talus slope, and near the canyon bottom. The site is bisected by a drainage, creating east and west halves. The canyon rim is dominated by an enclosed area in the northeast part of the site that contains several towers, a probable D-shaped building, an open plaza, and a kiva. Directly below this area, at the base of the cliff, are both single-story and multistory rooms and at least one kiva. Many of these structures are well preserved because they are protected by overhanging portions of the cliff. The enclosed rim area and the standing architecture below the rim are referred to as the "rim complex." Several other architectural units are well preserved along the base of the cliff and are located west of the drainage. During the occupation of the site, multistory buildings were probably situated all along the base of the cliff. Scattered kivas and their associated rooms (referred to as "kiva suites") built behind retaining walls are found on the talus slope. The canyon bottom includes a relatively dense cluster of kiva suites, towers built on boulders, and flat, open areas. Checkdams and retaining walls are found along the main drainage and in ephermal drainages.

Cultural Affiliation and Date Range of Occupation

Mesa Verde ancestral Pueblo Indian; occupied from mid-A.D. 1100s to late 1200s (Pueblo III period)

General Location

Approximately 3 miles southwest of the present-day town of Yellow Jacket, Colorado, Montezuma County; approximately 1.5 miles south-southwest of junction of County Road 13.5 and County Road W; approximately 7 miles southwest of Yellow Jacket Pueblo (Site 5MT5), the largest known prehistoric village in the Mesa Verde region

Ownership, Stewardship

U.S. Government, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument.}

Years of Crow Canyon Excavation


Percent Excavated by Crow Canyon

A Cultural Resource Use permit to conduct excavations and establish temporary trails, pit toilets, and portable toilets was issued to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center by the Bureau of Land Management, San Juan Resource Area Office, Durango, Colorado

Permits Comment
C-39466 (J) 1994-1998; renewed for 1996-1998