Crow Canyon

Teen camps, school groups, Research Programs questions: Laura Brown at 970-564-4346 or [email protected]
Cultural Explorations questions: Tayler Hasbrouck at 800-422-8975 ext. 457, or [email protected]

Recent News

A Moment of Gratitude – A Message from Crow Canyon’s President

A Message from Crow Canyon’s President

We would like to invite you to our future. But first, a moment of gratitude...

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News from Crow Canyon: Our New Laboratory Manager and Grant Funding

Ben Bellorado

Crow Canyon is pleased to announce Dr. Ben Bellorado as our new Laboratory Manager and new grant funding for research and education initiatives and our weekly webinar series!

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Dr. Sarah Oas Awarded Society for American Archaeology Dissertation Award.

Dr. Sarah Oas SAA Award 2

Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Oas for her incredible achievement in earning the 2020 Society for American Archaeology Dissertation Award! This award was presented for her detail-driven study into the transformation of food storage, preparation, and consumption in the Cibola region of the Southwest.

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Crow Canyon Events

Color in the Ancestral Pueblo Southwest with Marit Munson

Thursday, October 1st at 4 p.m. MDT

Color is an important part of peoples' lives; it carries meaning and makes things beautiful, and it communicates ideas and evokes emotions. So why do we tend to think of the past as if it were in black and white? In this talk, I question what we mean by color and how we can identify color choices in the past, delving into the surprisingly complicated history of color thinking and the technologies of paints and dyes. I then draw on museum collections and archaeological reports to show how Ancestral Pueblo people used color in all parts of their lives: to decorate pottery, to paint on cliff faces and the walls of rooms, to adorn fabric, and to create brilliant ornaments. This research shows that, regardless of medium, Ancestral Pueblo color choices varied widely through time and space; rather than following a linear trajectory from simple to complex, the use of color ebbed and flowed, with different individuals and communities using color—and relating to colorful materials—in deeply meaningful ways.

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Four Corners Lecture Series presents Crow Canyon Archaeological Center: Making History in the Mesa Verde Region with Ricky Lightfoot

Thursday, October 8th at 4 p.m. MDT

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center was established as a not-for-profit archaeological research and education institution in southwestern Colorado in 1983. The Center’s founder, Stuart Struever, believed that significantly advancing knowledge and understanding of the human past required concentrated, long-term research. As Crow Canyon approaches 40 years of research, education, and Native American partnerships in the Mesa Verde Region, Dr. Lightfoot reflects on the Center’s origins and contributions to knowledge.

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Studying Casas Grandes Ceramics from the Midwest to Chihuahua, Mexico with Samantha Bomkamp

Thursday, October 15th at 4 p.m. MDT

Join Samantha, previous Crow Canyon intern, while she discusses her master's thesis research on Casas Grandes ceramics and its relation to the trip she took with Crow Canyon in November of 2019 to Chihuahua, Mexico to see several Casas Grandes archaeological sites.

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Four Corners Lecture Series presents San Juan Red Ware and Social Networks across the Southwest with Robert Bischoff

Thursday, October 22nd at 4 p.m. MDT

San Juan Red Ware is a type of painted pottery produced in southeastern Utah. It appeared at the same time that large, aggregated villages were built around AD 750 and resembles ceramics far to the south more than local white wares. Eventually, it became one of the most widely traded types of pottery in the entire Southwest and can be found as far away as Nevada and the Phoenix Basin. Production eventually ended around AD 1050. This presentation builds upon prior analyses by utilizing the publicly available CyberSouthwest database (cybersw.org) containing data on millions of ceramics to analyze the distribution of this ware throughout the Southwest, as well as its relative position in social networks. Social network analysis is a way to study how relationships are structured and change over time. In particular, I describe the relative importance of sites containing San Juan Red Ware to the overall social network through which San Juan Red Ware was commonly circulated.

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An Embarrassment of Riches: Large Tree-Ring Datasets and the Reconstruction of Pre-Columbian History in the Southwest with Dr. Steve Nash

Thursday, October 29th at 4 p.m. MDT

Southwestern archaeology and tree-ring dating have been inextricably intertwined for more than a century. Woven together like strands in a complex tapestry with interesting personalities, stunning discoveries, and analytical milestones, the history of our discipline is highlighted by dendrochronological discoveries and contributions. For nearly half-a-century, archaeologists have analyzed large tree-ring date databases as they work to discover and discern broad demographic, settlement, climatological, and other trends in pre-Columbian history. Often, however, those databases have been analyzed at face value, uncritically, with little regard to the history of research and how that might affect the nature of the available data. There are now tens of thousands of tree-ring dates available to scholars from archaeological sites across the American Southwest. Archaeologists are beginning to take tentative steps to analyze these data en masse. The question remains, however, whether large tree-ring datasets contain systematic biases that may affect our interpretations. In this presentation, Steve presents several case studies from several locations around the American Southwest to make the case that we must always understand and account for the historical origins and biases inherent in these data.

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Crow Canyon offers paid summer internships to undergraduate and graduate students in archaeology, anthropology, education, and related fields.

Stay tuned for information on 2021 opportunities

For internship details, select the appropriate "Description," below:

Archaeology Internships

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  • Field 1 & 2
  • Field 3 & 4
  • Laboratory 1 & 2
  • Laboratory 3 & 4

Education Internships

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    Education Internships

    Internship Dates

    • Stay tuned for information on 2021 opportunities

    The following is provided for general informational purposes only.


    Crow Canyon Education

    The Crow Canyon education department uses experiential, student-centered education methods to engage learners of all ages in an inclusive and dynamic study of the human past. The staff works toward this goal by teaching about past and present cultures of the Southwest, investigating student learning, and communicating the Center's educational methods and theories to others. The work of the department is guided by a respect for, and is conducted in collaboration with, Native Americans. Archaeology, education, applied anthropology, and Native American studies provide the academic foundation for Crow Canyon programs.

    Crow Canyon's innovative education programs not only provide instruction in archaeology, but also involve the lay public in the actual research process. This firsthand approach increases awareness of, and appreciation for, our rich cultural heritage, while providing broad-based support for archaeological research and preservation. Through Crow Canyon's programs, students of all ages gain an understanding of culture, Native American history, archaeological research, human interaction with the environment, and the importance of cultural resource preservation.

    Full-time educators at Crow Canyon have academic and professional backgrounds in education, archaeology, anthropology, museum studies, and American Indian studies. The staff collaborates with archaeologists and Native Americans to develop educational programs that engage both children and adults. Curricula and lesson plans emphasize an experiential approach to learning and draw upon the results of Crow Canyon's archaeological research into the ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) Indians of the Mesa Verde region. In such an environment, education interns have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in working with, and learning from, a wide variety of people.

    Principles that Guide Our Work

    • Everyone's history matters.
    • Archaeological research and indigenous perspectives are essential to building a more inclusive story of the human past.
    • Archaeological sites hold the stories of the past and must be preserved for the future.
    • Experience and reflection form the foundation for meaningful learning.
    • Archaeology is a multidisciplinary field.
    • The learning environment should engage students in the learning process and promote respect for culture, the environment, and other people.

    What Do Education Interns Do?

    Education interns will gain experience in some or all of the following areas:

    • helping participants learn the chronology of the American Southwest, especially that of the ancestral Pueblo people
    • teaching traditional skills (pottery making and fire starting)
    • instructing participants in archaeological concepts and methods
      • in 2018, the intern will work primarily with elementary, middle, and high school students—education background and interest preferred
    • assisting with the supervision of lay participants in archaeological excavations
    • conducting tours of Crow Canyon's archaeological excavations and leading trips to other ancestral Pueblo sites in the Mesa Verde region
    • developing curricula related to Crow Canyon's education and research
    • assisting educators in the classroom (indoors and outdoors) and in preparing class materials

    Course Work and Skills Required

    Applicants should meet the following requirements:

    • advanced undergraduate or graduate course work in education, museum studies, archaeology, anthropology, Native American studies, or a related field
    • ability to work as part of a team (interns attend education staff meetings and participate in discussions about education strategies and organization and scheduling of work)
    • ability to work well with students ranging from fourth graders to senior citizens, many of whom have no previous archaeological experience
    • ability to adapt in a dynamic work environment
    • ability to work and live in outdoor settings and perform rigorous physical duties

    Archaeology Internships

    Internship Dates

    • Field 1 & 2: Stay tuned for information in 2021 opportunities
    • Field 3 & 4: Stay tuned for information in 2021 opportunities
    • Laboratory 1 & 2: Stay tuned for information in 2021 opportunities
    • Laboratory 3 & 4: Stay tuned for information in 2021 opportunities

    The following is provided for general informational purposes only.

    Crow Canyon Research

    Crow Canyon's research focuses on the ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) occupation of the Mesa Verde region. In 2017, Crow Canyon launched the Northern Chaco Outliers Project, an investigation of an ancestral Pueblo village with two Pueblo II period (A.D. 950–1150) great houses.

    The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center maintains high standards of research and scholarship. Students and adults participating in the Center's programs are closely supervised by research and education staff members in the field and the lab, ensuring a positive learning experience for them, as well as high-quality research for the profession. In addition, American Indians—many of them descendants of the ancestral Pueblo people—consult on all facets of our research, and colleagues from many other disciplines contribute their expertise to help us achieve our objectives. In such an environment, archaeology interns have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in working with, and learning from, a wide variety of people.

    What Do Archaeology Interns Do?

    Field interns will gain experience in some or all of the following areas:

    • instructing and supervising lay participants in basic excavation techniques and archaeological concepts
    • answering questions about research that are posed by site visitors
    • excavating and recording architectural and nonarchitectural contexts
    • maintaining provenience control for excavated contexts and cultural materials
    • writing narrative notes and completing provenience forms
    • drawing measured plan maps and cross sections
    • drawing and describing stratigraphic profiles
    • using a total station
    • photographing archaeological contexts
    • surveying for buried structures using electrical-resisitivity geophysical equipment

    Laboratory interns will gain experience in some or all of the following areas:

    • processing archaeological specimens and samples
    • maintaining provenience control for cultural materials and records
    • analyzing a variety of artifacts, including pottery, stone tools, and stone debitage
    • managing archaeological collections using a relational database
    • maintaining a small research library
    • instructing and supervising lay participants in artifact identification and laboratory methods and procedures

    Laboratory internships will emphasize cataloging and analysis of archaeological collections, particularly pottery and stone artifacts. Interns will also have the option of working on a special project involving analysis and interpretation of artifact collections.

    Full Job Description


    Applicants should meet the following requirements:

    • advanced undergraduate or graduate course work in archaeology, anthropology, museum studies, or related fields
    • minimum of four weeks of archaeological field and/or laboratory experience
    • motivation to improve field, laboratory, and (field and laboratory applicants only) teaching skills
    • ability to work as part of a team (interns attend research staff meetings and participate in discussions about research strategies and organization and scheduling of work)
    • (field and laboratory applicants only) desire to instruct lay participants ranging from fourth graders to adults, many of whom have no previous archaeological experience
    • ability to perform technical work, make careful observations, and record data legibly and accurately

    Projects & Partnerships


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