Creating Community During the Basketmaker III Period in Southwest Colorado



The central Mesa Verde region of southwest Colorado was a new frontier for Ancestral Pueblo farmers during the Basketmaker III period (A.D. 500–750). The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center investigated a Basketmaker III settlement on Indian Camp Ranch from 2011–2018. The project found a settlement made up of culturally diverse immigrants with architectural and pottery production practices from various traditions across the Southwest. Public gatherings in the settlement’s great kiva transformed this diverse group into an integrated community. As the community grew, descendants of the original settlers found themselves with managerial control of the great kiva and many production practices, such as pottery manufacture and design. This development appears to have contributed to the community’s stability and economic viability and likely influenced Ancestral Pueblo social practices in the central Mesa Verde region for centuries.

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