Mesa Verde. In southwestern Colorado. View from the top.
This is Cliff Palace. Two cowboys, Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason, discovered this ancient Puebloan village December, 1888.
I love Park Rangers. I want to be a Park Ranger when I grow up. They get to wear a really neat uniform and I freakin' love the hat.
This Park Ranger bothered me. I know she's done this a million times, but I wanted her to step away from the edge.
Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi, who made it their home for over 700 years, from AD 600 to AD 1300. The first Ancestral Puebloans settled in Mesa Verde over 600 years before the cliff dwellings were ever built. They were know as Basketmakers and lived in pithouses clustered into small villages usually built on mesa tops. These hunter-gatherers settled and began farming and using the bow and arrow. By 750, the people were building mesa-top villages made of adobe. By the late 12th century they began to build these cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is famous. Cliff Palace is the largest and best know of the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde. This site has 150 identified rooms and 23 kivas, or ceremonial rooms used for religious and spiritual rituals. The Ancient Puebloans constructed these sites by using hard river bed rock to sculpt away at the softer sandstone. They demonstrate a long history of occupation and the architectural design is an aggregation of dwellings and communal storage spaces that developed slowly and randomly. Cliff Palace was abandoned by 1300. Causes for abandonment can be debated, but many believe a series of mega-droughts interrupting food production systems is the main cause.
This is one of the kivas, or ceremonial rooms. They were cleverly engineered. A hexagon of layered logs, building up and coming in closer, created a domed roof. Logs went across the top, then adobe. The roof was very thick with a hole centered over the fireplace below.
There was another hole leading to the inside of the kiva. The Puebloans would use a ladder to climb in and out. The hole also allowed fresh, cool air to come down which would hit the diffusion wall in the above picture.Mesa Verde videos: