Archaeology Project to uncover ancient village

Discussion in 'Archaeology' started by mscbkc070904, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    To the casual observer the piles of rocks at Goodman Point are merely rubble, but a village is buried beneath those stones and in May the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center will begin to unearth it.

    In partnership with the Southeast Utah Group National Park Service, Crow Canyon will begin excavating one of the best-preserved archaeological landscapes in the Mesa Verde region - the Goodman Point Ruins Group Unit of Hovenweep National Monument.

    The two-phase research project is set to begin Monday. Senior research archaeologist Kristin Kuckelman, joined by two assistants, will begin creating a detailed map of the 142-acre site, and then they will plot digging areas.

    Excavation will start in the first week of May and continue through the first week of October. Using the method of conservation archaeology, Kuckelman expects the six-year project to have minimal effects on the site.

    Less than 1 percent of the main Goodman Point Pueblo will be affected by testing, and less than 2 percent of each of the outlying sites will be affected. "The idea is to dig as little as we possibly can," Kuckelman said. Excavation will be done by peppering the ground with several 1-meter by 1-meter and 1-meter by 2-meter pits placed in strategic areas to maximize learning but minimize damage.

    After the digging is done and all the possible information has been gathered, the holes will then be backfilled to prevent deterioration. In 1889, areas of Goodman Point were the first archaeological landscapes to be put under federal protection.

    At that time, homesteaders were overrunning the area around Goodman Point, and, Kuckelman said, a desire to protect the land from the damages of homesteading is why Goodman Point - instead of Mesa Verde or Hovenweep - was marked as needing federal protection. Because of this early protection the land was never farmed, making the area one of the best-preserved sites in the region.

    The opportunity to excavate came to Crow Canyon when the National Park Service asked the center to research the Goodman Point Ruins in order to help develop a land-management profile for the area.

    In preparation for the excavation, Crow Canyon surveyed Goodman Point in the fall of 2003. The survey turned up 42 sites within the 142-acre site, which includes single and multiple habitation sites, limited activity sites, ancient roads and trails and historic sites, she said.

    The public can join in the excavation by enrolling in a research program offered through the center, where students will learn what it means to be an archaeologist. After training students can help excavate the site and spend some time in the lab. The main Goodman Point Pueblo contains a great kiva, multiple plazas, at least one compact multistory building that might have been a great house and a bi-wall complex of four small, circular structures encircled by a single row of rooms.

    "It was a village, with residences, towers, special buildings and hundreds of people," Kuckelman said. In addition to the structures are trails, roads, and footpaths. Kuckelman also suspects they may find the remains of crop fields as well. "We're hoping to figure out ways to test to find them," she said.

    Source: The Durango Herald