Shanna Diederichs, supervisory archaeologist for Crow Canyon’s Basketmaker Communities Project, recently returned from Egypt, where she worked on a project at the ancient site of Abydos. Her work there was part of the ongoing effort by the New York University Department of Fine Arts to excavate and stabilize an early royal enclosure, the Shuneh El Zebib. Shanna’s trip to Egypt was cut short last year because of political unrest in the country, but this year she was able to complete her six-week stint at the site.
With Shanna’s return, our research staff is gearing up for the second season of fieldwork as part of Crow Canyon’s Basketmaker Communities Project. The project is shedding light on an exciting time in Pueblo history—the Basketmaker III period (A.D. 500–750), when the immigration of farmers into the central Mesa Verde region resulted in a population boom and the development of early communities. The centerpiece of the project is the Dillard site, a Basketmaker III community center that dates from the seventh century A.D. The site is just 2½ miles from the Crow Canyon campus.
“We’re excited to begin this year’s excavations,” Shanna said. “Last year we determined that there are far more pithouses at the Dillard site than was ever suspected. This suggests that we may have a small village on our hands, making it one of the earliest village sites documented in southwest Colorado.”