Citizen scientists contributing to groundbreaking research.

Crow Canyon was founded on the idea that members of the public could play an important role in archaeological research. Each year, we welcome people of all ages to our campus near Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado. Crow Canyon is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

The Crow Canyon story began in the 1970s when Dr. Stuart Struever, an anthropology professor at Northwestern University, established the Center for American Archaeology in Kampsville, Illinois. In 1983, the Center for American Archaeology purchased a small outdoor school near Cortez, Colorado, creating the Crow Canyon Campus of the Center for American Archaeology. At that time, campus facilities consisted only of trailers and tents.

The campus was located in the heart of the Mesa Verde region where Ancestral Pueblo people lived for thousands of years before migrating from the area in the 1200s. The area has a density of more than 100 sites per square mile in some places—one of the highest in the United States. 

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center emerged as an independent not-for-profit organization in 1985. Today, the Center is widely known as a leader in archaeological research and education, and is recognized as an innovator for its involvement with American Indians in its research and education program development and delivery, and for its partnerships with American Indian communities on mutually beneficial projects. The Center’s 170-acre campus now consists of a lodge, a research lab/office building, hogan-inspired cabins, and  student cabins. 


Our visual timeline takes you through the history and milestones of Crow Canyon.

History of the Land

“We have a responsibility to the land, all things on the land, to one another, and to our ancestors. These places are still occupied by ancestor spirits.”
— Dr. Joseph Suina

  • History of the land, migrations, displacement, and related treaties
  • Indigenous place names and languages
  • Indigenous people currently working in the field of archaeology, education, and American Indian knowledge

Crow Canyon: Learning from the Human Experience

An intro to the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and its programs. Includes interviews with students doing archaeological fieldwork through Crow Canyon’s school group programs. Don’t just learn about archaeology—do it!


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