The Archaeological Conservancy
“The past belongs to us all, but the archaeological and historical sites and artifacts that link us to the past are fragile and finite. They contain the collective knowledge of generations of people who lived before us. Diligent stewardship is required to make sure that our children and grandchildren will have an opportunity to study and admire these historical and archaeological wonders. The preservation of landscapes and archaeological sites not only enriches minds, but it also can enrich communities through heritage and archaeological tourism, which is a major contributor to Colorado’s economy. We need to protect these precious pieces of the past so we can pass them on to future generations.”
- Jim Walker, Southwest Regional Director, The Archaeological Conservancy
The Archaeological Conservancy is a national non-profit organization that identifies, acquires, and preserves archaeological sites that are among the most significant in the United States. Founded in 1980, the Conservancy has acquired and preserved more than 540 archaeological sites in 43 states ranging in date from 13,000 years old to the 19th century, The Conservancy acquires lands and creates archaeological preserves ranging in size from one to 1,000 acres—including 21 in Colorado. Because archaeological sites located on private lands are not afforded protection by state and federal laws, the Conservancy addresses a critical and otherwise unmet need.
One of the Colorado preserves, Yellowjacket Pueblo, located northwest of Cortez, may be the largest archaeological site in Colorado, with an estimated 2,000 surface rooms, 192 kivas, 27 towers, and a Great Kiva. Another, the 42-acre Shavano Valley rock art site is located in Montrose County on the eastern edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The Shavano Valley preserve contains evidence of occupation that ranges from 1000 BCE to 1900, including 26 rock art panels. The rock art includes representations of the Ute Bear Dance ceremony, the cosmic tree, and other religious symbols of fundamental significance to Ute people today.
Read more about the Shavano Valley rock art site in the PDF below.
Photos generously provided by The Archaeological Conservancy