Lowry Pueblo

As I’ve mentioned before with regard to Mesa Verde, I am fascinated by the ancient people who lived in the American West. These photos I took in June 2010 at Lowry Pueblo about 27 miles northwest of Cortez, CO. It is located in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. 

The pueblo was started about 1060 and was occupied for about 165 years. It is estimated that 40-100 people may have lived in the pueblo. By the time the inhabitants migrated away, the pueblo contained 40 rooms, eight kivas inside the pueblo structure, and a Great Kiva outside. Kivas are round, underground rooms used for domestic and ceremonial purposes. 

It is located in the center of the Great Sage Plain, about 1500 square miles of high, arid, rolling plateau containing many canyons. This area contains the highest recorded concentration of prehistoric and historic sites in North America. 

The pueblo was named after George Lowry, an early homesteader in the area. The site was first excavated in 1930-34 by Dr. Paul S. Martin of the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. More work was done on it in 1965 by the Bureau of Land Management and the University of Colorado. It was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark in 1967. 

When first excavated, one of the kivas had a beautiful painted mural on the walls. But this could not be preserved in place. Exposure to air and the elements quickly caused it to deteriorate. A section is preserved at the Anasazi Heritage Center. In 2004 an ugly roof (a “shelter structure”) was constructed to protect some of the pueblo from the elements. 

These people raised corn, beans, and squash, gathered nuts and seeds, and hunted small game. Cooking was probably done outside. Many of the rooms were entered through the ceilings with ladders.  

Anasazi Heritage Center: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ahc.html