Updates from the Mesa: The Far View Archaeological Project

One of the largest ancestral Pueblo villages on the Mesa Verde Cuesta, the Far View community, is well known and visited by thousands of tourists annually. As an archaeological site, it has a long history of research including Jesse W. Fewkes’ excavations (1916-1922), Getty and Haury’s tree-ring expeditions (1930s), Lister’s excavations (1950’s), Lancaster, Breternitz, and Rohn’s investigations of the Far View Reservoir and other features (1960’s), research by the Wright Paleohydrology Institute (late 1990’s), and a whole host of stabilization work over the last 100 years. With all of this research, including eight fully excavated buildings, many might think we already know Far View. However, most of these projects have focused on specific buildings or features within the community (particularly the eastern edge of it), but over the last 100 years, much less attention has been paid to the community scale. How was the Far View community organized? How did it start and change over time? What was farming like and where was it done? Was one reservoir enough? How did community members relate to the other large communities and smaller settlements on the Mesa Verde Cuesta? How was the Far View community connected to Chaco? And, why and when did people move away? As an ancestral place, Far View was home to hundreds of Pueblo people, who lived in this mesa top community for 100s of years despite lacking a nearby spring. Their connections and dedication to this place and this community involved generations of cooperation, adaptation, engineering, and ingenuity, especially when faced with drought and other hardships. The Far View Archaeological Project seeks to better understand these community dynamics at Far View and how the Pueblo people, who called it home, lived in relationship with place, environment, and society.

The Far View Archaeological Project is an on-going collaboration between Mesa Verde National Park and the University of Notre Dame that involves archaeologists, natural resources specialists, hydrologists, curatorial staff, students, and more. It is bringing together legacy data and collections (archives), full-coverage survey of a landscape-scale study area, photogrammetry, LiDAR, hydrological data, ethnography, and Indigenous perspectives. This talk presents some of our preliminary findings.