Communities Through Time: Migration, Cooperation, and Conflict

Legacy Project


Communities Through Time: Migration, Cooperation, and Conflict was a regional research project that examined the development and depopulation of Ancestral Pueblo communities in the Mesa Verde archaeological region from A.D. 900 to 1300, incorporating data gathered at the residential, community, and regional levels. This project emerged out of extensive consultations with Crow Canyon’s Native American Advisory Group, who wanted to investigate the longer histories of communities and the mesa top community centers that preceded the final canyon rim community centers, including Shields Pueblo from the Goodman Point community and Albert Porter Pueblo from the Woods Canyon community.

The project included excavations at Shields Pueblo in the Sand Canyon locality and at Albert Porter Pueblo in the Woods Canyon locality. The excavations at Shields Pueblo were designed primarily to collect artifact and ecofact assemblages from residential structures occupied and abandoned between A.D. 1050 and 1225, the interval during which Shields Pueblo is thought to have been a focal location within the larger Goodman Point community. The focus of community-level research involves integrating Shields Pueblo into the larger framework of the surrounding natural environment and cultural landscape defined by the numerous prehistoric settlements surrounding both Goodman Point and Shields pueblos. Regional-level research compared the Goodman Point Community with 26 other, similarly long-lasting communities in the Mesa Verde region and other Mesa Verde-region community centers investigated by Crow Canyon.

The overarching goal of the Albert Porter Pueblo excavations was to reconstruct the historic development of the village and the associated community. The resulting reconstruction identifies multiple periods of occupation, documents population growth and decline through time, and addresses the emergence of the settlement as a community center. The presence of a Chaco period great house and a dense cluster of associated smaller habitations suggest that Albert Porter Pueblo served as a community center. Crow Canyon’s research at Albert Porter Pueblo provides important new insights into the historical development, population dynamics, and human environmental impacts of Ancestral Pueblo communities in the central Mesa Verde region.

Project Details