Ancestral Puebloans of the Canyons of the Chapin and Wetherill Mesas
|Spruce Tree House Cliff Dwelling|
The Mesa Verde Visitor Center, Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum, and signage at each site comprehensively outlines the evolution stages of the Mesa Verde community culture and physical infrastructure during the following five periods of history:
The Mesa Verde landscape is a remarkably well-preserved prehistoric settlement landscape of the Ancestral Puebloan culture, which lasted for almost nine hundred years from c. 450 to 1300. This plateau in southwest Colorado, which sits at an altitude of more than 2,600 meters (8,530 Ft), contains a great concentration of spectacular Pueblo Indian dwellings, including the well-known cliff dwellings. This rich landscape provides a remarkable archaeological laboratory for enhancing our understanding of the Ancestral Puebloan people.
Square Tower HouseSome 600 cliff dwellings built of sandstone and mud mortar have been recorded within Mesa Verde National Park – including the famous multi-storey Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House – and an additional 4,300 archaeological sites have been discovered. The cliff dwelling sites range in size from small storage structures to large villages of 50 to 200 rooms. Many other archaeological sites, such as pit-house settlements and masonry-walled villages of varying size and complexity, are distributed over the mesas. Non-habitation sites include farming terraces and check dams, field houses, reservoirs and ditches, shrines and ceremonial features, as well as rock art. Mesa Verde represents a significant and living link between the Puebloan Peoples’ past and their present way of life."
- Early people of 4000 B.C.
- Basketmaker Period (A.D. 1 to A.D. 550)
- Modified Basketmaker Period (A.D. 550 - A.D. 750)
- Pueblo Period 1 & 2 (A.D. 750 - A.D. 1100)
- Classic Period (A.D. 1100 - A.D. 1300)
- Environmental challenges such as drought and fire
- Technological innovation in tools and construction techniques
- External threats from enemies, and
- Natural threats such as depleted resources and population shifts
Mesa Verde's Semi-buried Wood and Adobe Constructions
|Early Pit House Perimeter|
|Pit House w/ Far Fire Chamber|
and Smoke Deflector in Openway
|Family and Ceremonial Kiva|
Above Ground Pueblo Construction