Post Fire New Site Survey
As a result of recent large wildfires, Post-Fire Site Survey projects have occurred 10 out of the past 12 years. A total of 682 new archeological sites were discovered and recorded during the surveys. Archeologists have discovered that the Ancestral Puebloans were even more successful farmers than originally believed. Post-fire surveys have led to the recordation of many more check dams and water control features than in previous surveys. These features typically consist of retaining walls placed on slopes in order to direct water to catchment features or to agricultural plots.
After each wildfire, teams of archeologists survey the fire areas and assess, document, and treat previously recorded and newly discovered sites. Treatment methods include reseeding to promote vegetation growth, placement of erosion control features such as log diverters to direct water away from sites, and the installation of silicone driplines in cliff dwellings.
For more information on how past wildfires have affected the park’s cultural resources and the archeological response, go to Archeology and Fire. (pdf, 244 kb)
Did You Know?
The Ancestral Puebloans inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years (550 A.D. to 1300 A.D.), but for the first six centuries, they primarily lived on the mesa tops. It was not until the final 75 to 100 years that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is known.