Virtually every modern society is grounded in the changes initiated during the Neolithic Revolution which transformed societies from hunter-gatherers to farmers. The goals of the Basketmaker Communities Project are focused on three topics. First, this research will address how migration and population growth contributed to the formation of ancestral Pueblo society in the Mesa Verde region. Second, it will place Basketmaker III society into the larger ancestral Pueblo culture history of the American Southwest, filling in gaps with newly collected data. Finally, it will evaluate the long-term cultural legacies of the first farmers who colonized the region.
Together with Crow Canyon researchers, Earthwatch volunteers will conduct analysis of artifacts collected from the Basketmaker Communities Project, re-analyze artifacts collected from well-dated Basketmaker III period sites in the region, conduct surface survey (both pedestrian and geophysical) of a well-preserved Basketmaker III period settlement cluster located in the study area, and complete excavations of Basketmaker III period households and public architecture within the study area. With your help, archaeologists will excavate, identify, analyze, and describe the culture history of the Basketmaker III people.
Throughout this process, the research team 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. Research findings will be shared with professionals and the general public through publications on the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center web site, peer-reviewed journal articles, and public and professional presentations. The Basketmaker Communities Project will ensure that research on the Basketmaker III period—and our shared Neolithic legacy—continues for years to come.
Meet the Scientists
Dr. Shirley Powell
Arizona State University
Dr. Shirley Powell is Vice President of Programs at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, and is responsible for program content and delivery for the Basketmaker Communities Project. Dr. Powell (Ph.D., Arizona State University) has worked at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center since 2007. She directed and was co-principal investigator of the Black Mesa Archaeological Project, in northeastern Arizona between 1978 and 1987, and served as Professor of Anthropology and director of the Archaeology Laboratory at Northern Arizona University. She is the author or editor of many book-length monographs on Ancestral Puebloan and Hohokam archaeology, senior author of Pueblo of the Mesa, the Archaeology of Black Mesa Arizona, and senior editor of Prehistoric Culture Change on the Colorado Plateau, Ten Thousand Years on Black Mesa.
Susan C. Ryan
University of Arizona
Susan C. Ryan is a Research Archaeologist at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Ms. Ryan received her M.A. from New Mexico State University in 1998 and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona. She has conducted prehistoric and historic archaeological fieldwork throughout the U.S. Southwest and Midwest for the past 17 years. Working as a research archaeologist for Crow Canyon Archaeological Center since 1998, Susan has directed two multi-year excavation projects, Shields Pueblo and Albert Porter Pueblo. She has published several articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes and has given countless presentations to professional and avocational archaeological groups.