Anasazi Heritage Center and Canyons of the Ancients National

Escalante Pueblo

Escalante Pueblo was a compact village on a hilltop overlooking the Dolores River. Archaeologists believe it was occupied three different times, based on tree-ring dating of the wood used in its construction. Ancestral Pueblo people built the main complex in AD 1129 and lived there for at least nine years. The Spanish explorers Escalante and Dominguez made note of this site in 1776 during their trek across the Southwest.

The architecture and masonry indicate that Escalante Pueblo was one of the northernmost settlements influenced by the culture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, about 100 miles south. Some archaeologists speculate that such villages were part of an interdependent system spread across the Four Corners area. Escalante may have been a gathering place for religious or social activities of people in the smaller surrounding villages.

The pueblo is a rectangular block of about 28 rooms surrounding a kiva (a round subterranean room probably used for religious purposes). Other rooms were used as work areas, sleeping quarters, and storage. These rooms are larger than those typically found in the local region, and their walls were made of parallel faces enclosing a rubble fill core? both features typical of Chacoan construction. Lowry Pueblo is another nearby Chaco-style site.

About AD 1150, after a short abandonment, Escalante pueblo was briefly reoccupied by people from the local Northern San Juan branch of the Anasazi tradition. A final occupation, also by the Northern San Juan people, was very short and occurred sometime around AD 1200.

Escalante Pueblo is on the Anasazi Heritage Center grounds at the end of a 1/2 mile long, wheelchair-accessible trail.