Discover the past through evidence from an archaeological site in Colorado!

In this investigation, students will use geography, history, and archaeology to learn about rock shelters and the Ute people who lived in them.
Examine illustrations, artifacts, and maps of the Red Army Rock Shelter located in northwestern Colorado. Students meet Clifford Duncan, a Ute tribal Elder, by reading a biography and oral histories. Then they “uncover” a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of northwestern Colorado shaped the rock shelter.

Explore the use of a rock shelter and the cultural correlations today.

  • Includes text by and about White River Band of the Northern Ute tribal members
  • Supports Common Core State Standards
  • Incorporates authentic data for students to analyze



When you buy Investigating a Rock Shelter you will also receive the essential companion products: Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter and access to online introductory videos.

Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter provides teachers and students with seven fundamental lessons on shelter and archaeology. With this pre-requisite, students are ready for Lesson Eight, an investigation of a shelter from the past, such as the Crow Plains Tipi. Finally, in Lesson Nine of Investigating Shelter students learn the enduring understanding that stewardship of archaeological sites and artifacts is everyone’s responsibility. Taught together, Investigating Shelter and “Investigating a Rock Shelter” is a complete, comprehensive unit that truly allows for a deep understanding of shelter and archaeology.

Investigating Shelter videos are a professional development experience for educators in lieu of attending a Project Archaeology workshop. Watch Project Archaeology lessons in action! See a professional development workshop and a teacher guiding a 4th grade class through Investigating Shelter. Instructors model Understanding by Design and archaeological inquiry. Plus, see interviews with teachers and students! The videos are also available on our Teacher Page.

  1. Introduction – Why archaeology matters
  2. Investigating Shelter and Understanding by Design
  3. Lesson Two: By Our Houses You Will Know Us
  4. Lesson Four: Observation, Inference, and Evidence
  5. Lesson Six: Context Game
  6. Lesson Eight: Being an Archaeologist