Four Corners Research-Archaeology in the Mesa Verde Region
Mitchell Springs Watershed Survey
During the spring and summer of 2010, several members of the Colorado Archaeological Society Hisatsinom Chapter, conducted informal archaeological surveys under the Mesa Verde north escarpment. Most of these lands had already been previously surveyed at least once. We recorded some sites that had been missed but the purpose of our search was to locate a specific community that had been excavated by a gentleman named Viets when he was working for Peabody Museum at Harvard in the late 1800s. The collection he made is curated at the Peabody but it was provenienced to the location he provided which unfortunately was not accurate. Eventually, the sites were located and they appear to represent a great house community that included a reservoir with collection ditches, several small unit pueblos, and a large sprawling mound standing over 2 meters in height. The mass of rubble from fallen walls indicates it was at least two stories tall. Located 5.5 km from the center of the Mitchell Springs Community and just outside of the lands which drain into the MS community, it would have been less than a half day's walk away from several other known great house communities.
The Mitchell Springs Community probably maintained regular cooperative contacts with most people living within 5 km. At this stage of the survey we have chosen to focus on the community watershed as this land and the water that drained off of it would have been desirable to control. The opportunity to bring runoff water from out of the drainages onto adjacent fields offered enhanced chances for more abundant harvests. Cooperation from others would have been needed and there is some debate about how that cooperation was gained.