Site type and location: 5MT1825 (Castle Rock Pueblo). Site type: village situated on the top, and around the base, of a 20-meters high butte. The site is near the floodplain of McElmo Creek and is situated just at the mouth of Sand Canyon. The elevation of Castle Rock Pueblo is 1682 m (5520 ft) above sea level. Most structures were built on the talus slope north and south of the butte and some are abutted to the butte face. Some buildings were also constructed on the butte itself and on a large boulder south of the butte. The site consists of more than 60 structures, including a minimum of 40 rooms, 16 kivas, nine towers, a D-shaped building, several sections of enclosing or retaining walls, at least two plazas, and several midden areas. The vegetation includes pinyon and juniper trees as well as sagebrush, grasses, winterfat, prickly pear cactus, and fourwing saltbush.
Dating:The chronology of the site was established mostly on the basis of tree-ring dates, also on pottery types, and architectural styles. Tree-ring dates indicate that Castle Rock Pueblo was inhabited during the second half of the thirteenth century A.D. (Kuckelman 2000, edited by). The village was probably founded in A.D. 1256, or a little later, and was occupied until sometime after A.D. 1274, which is the latest date for the site (maybe even until the mid-1280s). The latest tree-ring date for the site corresponds with the latest dates from the entire. The most famous rock art panel at Castle Rock Pueblo, located on the southwestern side of the butte, depicts three fighting
warriors. This panel supports the general view of a changing social environment in the Mesa Verde region that points to growing warfare occurring between different Pueblo groups (or with non-Pueblo people) during the thirteenth century A.D.
Description of the research: Information about Castle Rock Pueblo was first published in the reports (including mapping, painting, and photographing of visited sites) of the Hayden Survey expeditions to Colorado, supervised by William H. Jackson and William H. Holmes in 1874 and 1875. Archaeological surveys of Castle Rock Pueblo were conducted in 1965, 1975, and 1988 by various institutions including the Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Native Cultural Services, and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center (CCAC). Later (from 1990 to 1994), CCAC conducted mapping and test excavations at the site as well as documentation of part of rock art (not recorded of all panels from the site).
Since 2011 (mostly in 2011, 2017, and 2019) Sand Canyon-Castle Rock Pueblo Community Archaeological Project conducts surveys and recordation of rock art and the relations of the architecture and rock art from the site with the surrounding landscape. This research included mainly detailed digital documentation of particular rock art panels and UAV/drone photographs of the site and its particular parts and surrounding landscape). Three-dimensional models of the site were prepared and some of the rock art panels were investigated using the DStretch software and the RTI/Reflectance Transformation Imaging method.
Digital recording technology: 3D scanning (TLS), photogrammetry, digital photography. Recording equipment: Faro Focus 3D S120, Nikon D7100 (f/5.6, ISO-400, 35mm with Nikkor lens: 17-55 f/1:2.8G). Software: Faro Scene, Agisoft Metashape, Blender. Record: Georeferenced DEM (Digital Elevation Model), georeferenced 3D models, georeferenced orthophoto plans.
© Sand Canyon–Castle Rock Community Archaeological Project, 2021