Mark Varien is the executive vice president of the Research Institute at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, and has been conducting research in southwestern Colorado since 1979. As part of the Village Ecodynamics project, Varien works with a team of researchers to create a database of all the known ancient Puebloan archaeological sites to reconstruct the population history of the area. Varien’s research examines how population movement affects settlement patterns and seeks to integrate archaeological and indigenous knowledge. He has a PhD. from Arizona State and is the author of the 2010 book Leaving Mesa Verde: Peril and Change in the Thirteenth-Century Southwest.