Archaeology & Culture

Uncovering the Mysteries of Ancient Colorado

What caused the biggest shift in human history: from hunting and gathering to farming? Dig into the ancient past for clues.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Modern societies are grounded in the events of the Neolithic Revolution, which transformed societies from hunter-gatherers to farmers.

With your help, researchers hope to explain why and how human societies changed from hunter-gatherers to farmers.

Modern societies are grounded in the events of the Neolithic Revolution, which transformed societies from hunting and gathering to farming. This research will address how migration and population growth contributed to the formation of ancestral Pueblo society in the Mesa Verde region; it will place Basketmaker III society into the larger ancestral Pueblo culture history of the American Southwest; and, finally, it will evaluate the cultural legacies of the first farmers who colonized the region.

Throughout the research process, staff and volunteers will collaborate with American Indians, including Pueblo Indians, on the design, implementation, and dissemination of project results. The Basketmaker Communities Project will use gathered knowledge about deep Pueblo history to better understand the principles that govern culture change in all societies and to address issues relevant to society today.

Volunteering on an Earthwatch archaeology project

Excavate a site of the ancient Basketmaker III community.

The research findings will be shared with professionals and the general public through publications on the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center website, peer-reviewed journal articles, and public and professional presentations. The Basketmaker Communities Project will ensure that research on the Basketmaker III period and subsequent Pueblo I-Pueblo III periods (A.D. 750-1300)—and our shared Neolithic legacy—will continue for years to come.

About the research area

Cortez, Colorado, United States, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


Director of Archaeology at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

ABOUT Susan Ryan

Susan Ryan, an Earthwatch archaeologist at Crow Canyon in Colorado, has conducted prehistoric and historic excavations throughout the American Midwest and Southwest.


Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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