Location: 27 miles northwest of Cortez, Colorado. Visit the Anasazi Heritage Center for a detailed map.
Description: Named after early homesteader George Lowry, it was constructed about AD 1060 on top of abandoned pithouses from an earlier period of occupation. Its 40-100 inhabitants were farmers who also hunted small game, made elaborately decorated pottery, and wove cotton obtained by trade.
Lowry Pueblo was excavated during summer field seasons (1930-1936) by Paul S. Martin of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1967, and now is a part of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
Lowry's architecture and masonry indicate strong influence from Chaco Canyon, about 100 miles south in New Mexico. Lowry is among the northernmost Chaco-style communities, which may have formed an interdependent network spread thinly across the eastern half of the Ancestral Pueblo homeland.
Lowry Pueblo's most visible elements are a Great House and Great Kiva. The surrounding area includes smaller, unexcavated hamlets that probably belonged to the greater Lowry community.
The Great House was a multi-story structure with a pre-planned, rectangular layout. Its rooms are larger, on average, than found in "local" Puebloan architecture.
Its outer walls are constructed with double layers of stone blocks, alternating with bands of smaller stones, enclosing a core of rubble fill.
Like most Puebloan settlements, Lowry includes a number of kivas— round, subterranean rooms for both domestic and ceremonial activities. The Great Kiva is several times larger than the others and seems to have served a different purpose. This one may have been a gathering place for the people of surrounding hamlets.
Many rooms were probably plastered inside, and kiva walls were painted with bold geometric designs.
Initial excavations in the 1930s revealed one kiva (Kiva B) with an exceptionally well-preserved mural, and the kiva was backfilled to preserve it.
After re-excavation in 1974, the mural began to discolor and peel away due to exposure to light and air. None of it survives today, except for a salvaged fragment at the Anasazi Heritage Center.
Current technology cannot preserve such murals in situ except by reburial.
Permits, Fees, Limitations: No fee. Open during daylight hours. Camping is not allowed at the Lowry site.
Accessibility: The parking lot is gravel. The adjacent picnic area, restroom, and paved quarter-mile trail are all wheelchair-accessible.
Camping and Lodging: Camping is not allowed at Lowry Pueblo, but dispersed camping is allowed in most parts of the National Monument. Lodging is available in Cortez and Dolores.
Food and Supplies: Food and supplies are available in Cortez and Dolores.
First Aid: No first aid is available on-site. The nearest hospital is in Cortez. First aid and a phone are available in Pleasant View (18 miles north of Cortez on U.S. Highway 666).
Additional Information: A salvaged mural fragment from Lowry Pueblo is displayed at the Anasazi Heritage Center on State Highway 184, 3 miles west of Dolores. In 2004 Lowry Pueblo received a new shelter structure to protect the most delicate part of the main building from the elements.
BLM - Canyons of the Ancients National Monument/ Anasazi Heritage Center
27501 Highway 184 Dolores, CO 81323
Tel: (970) 882-5600 Fax: (970) 882-7035