Four Corners Research-Archaeology in the Mesa Verde Region
Mitchell Springs Watershed Survey
During the spring and summers of 2010 and 2011, informal archaeological surveys were conducted 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 at least one reservoir with collection ditches, several small unit pueblos, and a large sprawling mound standing over 1.5 meters in height. The mass of rubble from fallen walls indicates it was two stories tall. Located 5.5 km from the center of the Mitchell Springs Community, it would have been less than a half day's walk away from other known great house communities.
The Mitchell Springs Community probably maintained regular cooperative contacts with most people living within 5 km. The focus of our work has been 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 the drainages onto adjacent fields offered enhanced chances for more abundant harvests. Cooperation from community members living further from the springs in more distant parts of the catchment was needed but there is some debate about how that cooperation was gained.