Ceramic effigy figure with a black-on-white design from Wallace Ruin.

National and State Register

Great Pueblo Period of the McElmo Drainage Unit, AD 1075-1300

McElmo Creek flows west through Montezuma County and eventually joins the San Juan River.  The McElmo drainage area is one of 10 cultural units defined by archaeologists within the northern San Juan drainage area, part of the Mesa Verde region, located in the Colorado Plateau Physiographic Province of southwest Colorado and southeast Utah.  This region, including Mesa Verde National Park, was once peopled by an ancient tribe of Native Americans known to later inhabitants as the Anasazi.

The Great Pueblo Period (AD1075-1300) refers to a time in Ancestral Pueblo development that began with the construction of increasingly larger cliff dwelling and mesa top settlements that show evidence of community planning.  These sites contain Chaco-style great house sites and were sometimes associated with roads or great kivas.  The period ends with the abandonment of these settlements.  (Cover documentation accepted by National Register in 1992, accepted for State Register 6/9/2004.)