Introduction to the Site
Castle Rock Pueblo was a village in the Mesa Verde region of southwestern Colorado that was constructed during the late
Pueblo III period. The village was home to 75 to 150 people from the A.D. 1260s until sometime during the A.D. 1280s.
The pueblo included at least 16 kivas, 40 surface rooms, nine possible towers, a D-shaped enclosure, two possible plazas,
numerous retaining and village-enclosing walls, and several middens. The location of the villagearound the base and on
top of a prominent sandstone butteprobably was chosen for its defensible qualities. The occupation of Castle Rock
Pueblo ended abruptly sometime in the mid-1280s as the result of an enemy attack.1
The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center conducted excavations at Castle
Rock from 1990 through 1994 with the assistance of hundreds of individuals
who participated in the Center's research
and educational programs. Crow Canyon's work at Castle Rock focused
on the Pueblo Indian culture of the A.D. 1200s and in particular on the
conditions that contributed to the depopulation of the Mesa Verde region
by the end of that century. The first two years of excavation were conducted
as part of the Sand Canyon Project Site Testing Program, and the results
of that phase of the investigation are reported elsewhere on this Web
Sand Canyon Archaeological Project: Site Testing). The results
of all five years of field and laboratory studies associated with Castle
Rock are the subject of the current publication.
Additional introductory and background information is available in The Castle Rock Pueblo Database, including an
overview of the site, a discussion of the physiography of the pueblo and its immediate environs, a history of investigations
at the site, and a description of the field methods employed during the excavations. The reader is also referred to two chapters
in the Site Testing report for detailed discussions of site-selection criteria (Site Testing, Chapter 1) and site-sampling
strategy (Site Testing, Chapter 14).
1 Analysis results for the human skeletal remains at Castle Rock Pueblo are not included in this publication. The complexities of the analysis and subsequent interpretations require treatment that is beyond the scope of this publication. An article is currently being written for submission to a professional journal.
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