Go to Table of Contents.
About This Publication
List of Tables
List of Illustrations
Introduction to the Site
Research Design
Castle Rock Pueblo in a Regional Context
Settlement Organization
Population Estimates
Faunal Remains
Plant Evidence
Rock Art
The Final Days of Castle Rock Pueblo
Oral History
A Native American Perspective

Introduction to the Site

by Kristin A. Kuckelman

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 village—around the base and on top of a prominent sandstone butte—probably 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 site (The 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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