May 23, 2022
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The Colorado Department of Transportation recently debuted a documentary called “Durango 550 – Path of the Ancestral Puebloans” to show how the agency worked with archaeologists and regional Native American tribes to document, study, and ultimately share the discoveries unearthed near Durango in southwest Colorado.

[Above photo by the Colorado DOT]

The archaeological excavation took place in 2018 and 2019 ahead of construction on the US 550-US 160 Connection South project in 2020.

“This documentary shows the unique collaboration of all entities involved, laying the groundwork for a new approach to archaeology, blending western science with traditional cultural beliefs,” explained Greg Wolff, a Colorado DOT archaeologist, in a statement.

Photo by the Colorado DOT

“Tribal members frequently visited the project area during the excavations. Tribal elders contributed traditional knowledge, experience and spiritual guidance to the archaeologists and other project staff members,” he said.

The documentary features several tribal representatives involved in the project and other tribal members who worked and trained as paid interns, participating in both the excavations and educational outreach. The documentary also touched upon tribal youth groups involved with the excavation.

The 30-minute documentary – created by the Grit and Thistle Film Company – aired on the Rocky Mountain PBS station on January 16 and will air again on March 17. It is also available for viewing on the television station’s website and mobile app.

editor@aashto.org

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