Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Cultural Heritage Option)

Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Dr. John Douglas

Commitee Members

Dr. Doug MacDonald, Dr. John Ravesloot


Ancestral Puebloan, private collectors, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde Region, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Anasazi Heritage Center


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Archaeological Anthropology


Through a case study, this research examines the ethical issues and potential value of private artifact collections that are made available to professional archaeologists. The context of this study is the Mesa Verde Region in the Four Corners of the United States. Specifically, it considers the Ancestral Pueblo archaeology of Montezuma (MT) County, the core area of the Mesa Verde Region, generally considered the most archaeologically dense region in the U.S. These archaeological resources benefit the local and global community by promoting research, education, tourism and cultural heritage. For example, Mesa Verde National Park draws hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world. Federal and State Laws are designed to protect sites on Federal lands, but much of MT County is private property, mainly used for farming, and many important archaeological resources are located on these lands. A private collection, made in the area surrounding Yellow Jacket Pueblo (5MT5), was donated in the fall of 2014 to the Anasazi Heritage Center, a Bureau of Land Management Federal collections repository. The collection was analyzed with the goal of identifying collector bias in order to fully incorporate the collection into the understanding of the area surrounding Yellow Jacket Pueblo. Research concludes that the collection does not represent the assemblage found by archaeologists at the site, showing that the collector did have a bias towards certain types of artifacts over others. This thesis further evaluates the values of this collection in the context of stewardship and preservation efforts in the area. It is concluded that research of private collections is important because it can aid in identifying missing information about the past, and the value of public outreach, education, and collaboration cannot be dismissed.



© Copyright 2017 Ryan C. Dudgeon