kivaKeeping watch over ancient treasures By Deborah Frazier, Rocky Mountain News

CANYONS OF THE ANCIENTS NATIONAL MONUMENT – Dan Corcoran’s eyes and ears help protect this 164,000-acre archeological preserve for future generations.

The area around Sand Canyon Pueblo, with its 420 rooms, 100 kivas and 14 towers, is Corcoran’s territory. The pueblo was excavated in the 1990s and most of it was reburied for protection.

“There are still lots of depressions where the kivas and rooms are,” said Corcoran, who also volunteers at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. “You get the feeling of being in a small village.”

He’s one of dozens of volunteer site stewards at the monument, located north of Cortez. They are trained to look for and report vandalism, pothunting and other damage. …

By the early 1200s, more than 100,000 Anasazi, now called the ancestral Puebloans, lived in southwestern Colorado. The early Puebloans, related to the present-day Hopi of Arizona and the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico, migrated to the area starting in about A.D. 700. Before they left in the late 1200s, trade routes stretched from South America to the Pacific Northwest. Small dams and elaborate irrigation systems watered fields.