Greubel thinks this particular pit house was probably a center for ceremonies or gatherings for the Ancestral Puebloan people who lived here roughly 1,200 years ago. That was before they are believed to have migrated west to the Mesa Verde area and then south to become the ancestors of the Hopi, Zuni and various Pueblo tribes.
“When we were working down here, you kind of have a sense of peace and you feel like you’re accomplishing something good,” Greubel says. “I know not all people think that way, but we treated the site with respect and a sense of awe.”
…This pit house is about to be filled in and covered up by a highway, as are six other important ancient sites on this mesa.
…The new construction site will cross the outer boundaries of the tribe’s reservation.
But some Southern Ute citizens are still upset that the digs are happening at all, and they don’t feel empowered to stop them.
…”You know, those are my family’s bones in there,” Maez says. “We don’t have a ceremony to dig them up and put them somewhere else.”
He says projects like this have forced tribes to adapt to that process and create new rituals to remove and rebury remains.
…Local tribes didn’t have ultimate veto power to stop this highway project from moving forward.
…”It’s quite interesting to see how we lived, you know, and to compare in how we live today. But on the other hand, it’s very hurtful and sad too.”