Day 28-29 Cortez, CO   3 comments

Within Mesa Verde National Park,

we visited Cliff Palace, which is the largest cliff dwellings in North America, containing 23 kivas, room used by modern Puebloans for religious rituals.

The first Ancestral Puebloans settled in Mesa Verde 1,400 years ago. Most of the cliff dwellings were built from the late 1190s to late 1270s. They range in size from one room houses to villages of more than 150 rooms (Cliff Palace). Ancestral Puebloans lived in the cliff dwellings for less than 100 years. By about 1300 Mesa Verde was deserted, possibly because of a drought and crop failures, possibly because soils, forests, and animals were depleted, possibly social and political problems….

As we drove through the canyon area, we found several areas which housed cliff dwellers. The park includes 4,000 archeological sites, 600 are cliff dwellings.

Spruce Tree House was discovered in 1888. It has 114 rooms and 8 kivas.

About 100 to 150 people may have lived here at its height. These people lived on Mesa Verde for 700 years. They built large cliff dwellings only during the last 100 years, then they gradually left.

Below are a couple of brave souls who visited the kivas.

There are also several “pit houses.” Below is a picture of one that we visited. It’s the remnants of a pit house 575 A.D.

Living partly below ground, the people who built this dwelling were literally settling into the earth. After hundreds of years as nomads – tracking game, looking for wild fruits, nuts and berries – the Anaszi were starting to build permanent homes and become farmers. This led to their rapid population growth.

The terrain is amazing and I still find it hard to believe that they built the structures with so much foresight. Everything was planned for survival.

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3 responses to “Day 28-29 Cortez, CO

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  1. hi!This was a really splendid topic!
    I come from itlay, I was luck to come cross your website in bing
    Also I learn a lot in your topic really thanks very much i will come daily

  2. Thanks for this, it reminded me of my visit there in 1995. I found it a fascinating place and would love to return one day.

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