On June 9, 2000, a presidential proclamation set aside 164,000 acres of rugged desert canyons and high mesas for preservation as Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The Anasazi Heritage Center is the gateway to this significant archaeological landscape, and was completed in 1984 as part of the Dolores Archaeological Program. Nearly 1,600 archaeological sites—hunting camps, granaries, households, villages, etc.—have yielded artifacts on display at the museum today. Nearly $1.5 million dollars has been awarded for approximately 24 projects to various non-profit organizations to conduct research, stabilization, and interpretation involving archaeological resources in the Monument.
One of the BLM’s primary partners in the study of ancient sites such as Painted Hand Pueblo is Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Located at 23390 County Road K, west of Cortez, Crow Canyon has expanded public knowledge and interest with its education programs and site reports. Used by researchers and others, they use electronic site reports include maps, photographs, interpretive text, and databases, to address topics in architecture, artifacts, and archaeological method and theory. SHF-funded educational materials help guide current and future generations in learning about the history, and prehistory, of this area. According to Mark Varien, director at Crow Canyon, “Approximately 50,000 students of all ages and from all walks of life have worked with Crow Canyon archaeologists to excavate these sites and conduct laboratory analysis of archaeological materials.”
Painted Hand Pueblo was a small village with about 20 rooms that contains faint rock paintings and petroglyphs. An SHF grant to Crow Canyon provided funding to document the site and bring Puebloan Elders from Acoma, Laguna, and Hopi to help interpret the meaning of the rock art and architectural layout. Part of the SHF grant also helped produce a brochure that explains many of the Puebloan language terms for the site and its features, such as kaach-ta kaact, which is Acoma for a wide area of dwellings; kiikiqo, which is Hopi for footprints; and Ship’aap, which is Laguna for the place of emergence. Visitors are encouraged to visit the site with respect for those who were there before them, and to consider the words of the Puebloan elders as they contemplate the sites meaning.
For additional information about this project please contact the State Historical Fund at 303-866-2825.
Upper right: Tower structure at Painted Hand Pueblo.
Middle left: BLM archaeologist Victoria Atkins points to a petroglyph at Painted Hand Pueblo.
Lower right: Standing wall at Painted Hand Pueblo.