Ancient Chacoan Immigrants and Influence in the Middle San Juan Region, New Mexico: Bringing the Past to Life for the Public

June 1st, 2011 - May 31st, 2014 | PROJECT

This is a Communicating Research to Public Audiences (CRPA) award that addresses the issues around the Chacoan people and their impact on the Middle San Juan region of New Mexico during the era of 1050-1150 AD. This area and its people have been the subject of interest to the Archaeological field with studies and a PBS documentary suggesting solar system awareness and use. This prooject goes beyond the past data providing modern interpretation of the site and the Chacoan people's impact via migration. The primary collaborators on this project are the Center for Desert Archaeology, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Salmon Ruins Museum, and the Mesa Verde National Park (National Park system). The project design includes exhibits at two museums (Aztec Ruins National Monument and Salmon Ruins) with interactive touch-screen computer systems which enable the visitors to digitally tour the Aztec and Salmon pueblos viewing architecture, artifacts, and the landscape of the Middle San Juan area. Visitors will also be able to manipulate 3-D animations, deriving their own experiences and choices. Finally, there will be fixed interactive displays. In this way, the visitor will be able to go back and recreate the past. Using the methods and artifacts participants will be able to derive the migration of the Chaco peoples and their impacts on the pueblos. It is anticipated that the digital media will be shared on the internet for extended impact. Evaluation by outside consultants consists of front-end and summative analyses. The intended outcomes include increasing the knowledge of local citizens using the interactive exhibit with two languages and cultural correctness. Youth will be served in a similar manner. In addition, the participants will be acquainted with the techniques used by the scientists thereby imparting logic, methodologies, and interpretation skills.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Paul Reed, Principal Investigator, Archaeology Southwest
Douglas Gann, Co-Principal Investigator, Archaeology Southwest


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1047601
Funding Amount: 149999


Audience: General Public | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Geoscience and geography | History | policy | law | Nature of science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media