The Anasazi Heritage Center (AHC) is an archaeological museum that displays and preserves artifacts and records from excavations on public lands in the Four Corners area, one of the richest archaeological regions in the United States. The museum is also the headquarters for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Our goal is to increase public awareness of archaeology and cultural resources in the Four Corners.
Anasazi is the Navajo name for a farming people who lived in the Four Corners between AD 1 and AD 1300. The population size varied over time, but at its peak many thousands of Anasazi families occupied the southwest corner of Colorado. Their modern descendants, the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Arizona, prefer the term Ancestral Pueblo rather than "Anasazi." Pueblo may also refer to the traditional apartment-house style of village architecture that survives today.
The museum features permanent displays on the Ancestral Pueblo people, and on the techniques that allow modern archaeologists to reveal the past. Many of our exhibits are hands-on and interactive- you can weave on a loom, grind corn meal on a metate, examine tiny traces of the past through microscopes, and handle real artifacts. Changing Special Exhibits & Events feature topics of regional history and Native American cultures.
Our pueblo-style building was created during the McPhee Dam and Reservoir project, which included the Dolores Archaeological Program (DAP), the largest single archaeological project in the history of the United States. Between 1978 and 1984 researchers mapped about 1600 archaeological sites- including hunting camps, shrines, granaries, households and villages- along the Dolores River in the reservoir area, and excavated about 120 sites to salvage their information value. Many artifacts are displayed in the museum; the rest are available for study and research.
The museum is 7000 feet (2150 m) above sea level at the foot of the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado. It overlooks McPhee Reservoir and the Montezuma Valley, and is about 17 miles by road from Mesa Verde National Park. On the museum grounds are two 12th century settlements, the Dominguez and Escalante Pueblos, named after Spanish friars who explored this area in 1776 and became the first to record archaeological sites in Colorado. The pueblos were excavated and stabilized 200 years later