Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

With the Rocky Mountains in the west and its flat open plains in the east, Colorado is a geographically diverse state. At the time of European colonisation it was home to indigenous groups like the Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne, while earlier indigenous communities left behind archaeological sites like the famous Ancestral Pueblo Cliff Dwellings. By the early 19th century, France claimed the area as its territory, selling it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. A gold rush saw substantial European settlement in the mid-19th century and in 1876 Colorado became a state. That decade, most of the indigenous peoples in the area were forcibly relocated to reservations outside Colorado itself.

Archaeology & History Sites in Colorado

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Sites

Bent’s Old Fort is an adobe-brick trading outpost built to facilitate exchange between European American and Native American communities along the Santa Fe Trail. Charles and William Bent’s company oversaw its construction, resulting in its current name. Constructed in 1833, it remained operational till 1849. It was then reconstructed in the 1970s, at which point it became a heritage attraction open to the public. Various reenactors in period costume now welcome visitors.

Hovenweep National Monument

The Hovenweep National Monument encompasses six prehistoric villages that were built during the 13th century. These were inhabited by the people archaeologists now call Ancestral Puebloans, although there is also evidence of older hunter-gatherer activity on the site. Particularly impressive are the multi-story towers perched atop the boulders overlooking the epic Colorado landscape. Some visitors choose to camp at the site, with some limited facilities available for this.

Mesa Verde National Park

In an area covering more than 200 square kilometres there are over 5,000 archaeological sites – including 600 cliff dwellings. Some of these are amongst the best preserved Pueblo ruins anywhere in the United States, and the most exceptional sites are open to the public throughout the year. Cliff Palace is thought to be the biggest cliff dwelling. The park welcomes day visitors, but there are also facilities for those who wish to spend a bit longer exploring the variety of accessible sites.

Museums & Art Galleries in Colorado

Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum, founded as an artists’ club in 1893, is now one of the largest art museums between the west coast and Chicago. The museum identifies 12 collections, with a total of some 70,000 objects from all over the world. Including Africa, Oceania, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The collections are similarly wide ranging in time, from the ancient Americas and medieval Europe to French Impressionists, and up to contemporary pieces by local Denver artists. Of indigenous arts of North America, 250 Native Nations are represented by over 18,000 artefacts.