5 May – 31 August 2016

Place: Górka Palace, ul. Wodna 27

Author of the exhibition: Radosław Palonka

Curator: Paweł Polkowski

The photographs by Robert Słaboński, presented in the undergrounds of the Górka Palace in Poznań, document the archaeological research carried out by Polish archaeologists in Colorado, United States.

The Sand Canyon-Castle Rock Community Archaeological Project has been conducted since 2011 in the Central Mesa Verde region in the southwestern part of Colorado in the North American Southwest. The project focuses on the study of the settlement structure and socio-cultural changes that took place in Ancient Pueblo culture during the thirteenth century A.D., also known as the Late Pueblo III period. This project is being conducted by the Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland in cooperation with the American institutions Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and the Anasazi Heritage Center, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado. The project director is Dr. Radosław Palonka. From the beginning, the US Consulate General in Krakow has also been a partner of the project.

The research project is located in the Lower Sand Canyon area, in three canyons: Sand Canyon, East Rock Creek Canyon and Graveyard Canyon. All are part of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, a legally protected area managed by the Bureau of Land Management. These canyons contain the remains of around forty small sites, in¬cluding habitations, limited activity sites, and one large community center – Castle Rock Pueblo – which probably functioned as a community of allied sites during the thirteenth century A.D. Castle Rock Community was one of around sixty communities in the central Mesa Verde region in the thirteenth century A.D. Since 2013 the documentation of rock art sites located in Sandstone Canyon, approximately 20 kilometers northwest of the main research area, was also initiated.

The thirteenth century A.D. was a time of many changes in the Ancient Pueblo world in the Mesa Verde region, changes which are apparent in the remaining stone ar¬chitecture and settlement structure; socio-cultural changes probably occurred as well. The settlement locations shifted from the mesa tops and uplands to canyon rims and cliff alcoves and other places very difficult to access. Some settlements became larger and well-planned. Many types of public and defensive architecture – including plazas, great kivas, towers, and stone walls that enclosed villages – were also constructed in this period. It was a time of peak population in the region and, near the end of the thirteenth century A.D., of the final depopulation and emigrations from the area. Environmental and climatic perturbations as well as increasing conflict and violence are the most cited factors, although the exact reasons for the migration are still not fully understood. The most likely destinations of Pueblo emigrants include the northern and central parts of Arizona and New Mexico, where their descendants live today.

Text by Radoslaw Palonka

Photo by Robert Słaboński