Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park

Background

  • Archaeological Site: Mesa Verde National Park
  • Country Located: United States America (Colorado)
  • Date of Inscription: 1978
  • Criteria: (iii) The Mesa Verde National Park landscape provides archaeological sites of the ancient cultural traditions of Native American tribes through the past and present ways of life of the Pueblo Indians of the American south-west.
  • There are 9 Cultural/Mixed Heritage Sites in the United States

Basic Archaeological Site Information:

  • This Archaeological site is located at an altitude more than 2,600 meters or 8,500 feet, and is comprised of more than 100 rooms
  • Time Period: 1000-1300AD
  • The Mesa Verde is part of the prehistoric  Ancestral Puebloan Culture which lasted approximately from years c 450 to 1300
  • The civilization of Mesa Verde reached its climax towards the end of the 13th century

Archaeological Summary:

Mesa Verde is located in Colorado and is home to over 4,400 archaeological sites with new discoveries being made regularly. Mesa Verde National Park contains approximately 600 recorded historic Pueblo Indian dwellings made up of sandstone and mud mortar. The most famously recognized of which include, Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House.

The Pueblo Indian civilization of the Mesa Verde National Park reached its climax at roughly the end of the 13th century. Before suddenly disappearing, the Pueblos left their mark with multi story constructions under the shelter of large cliffs with some containing as many as 181 different rooms. The Pueblo Indians moved from on top of the cliffs to inside the cliffs for two reasons. First of which was for protection purposes. Second, was they were simply following their food supply. The Pueblos used the mesa tops for agriculture while they lived below their food supply in magnificently man-made architectural dwellings.

The rock-cut villages of the Mesa Verde showed off the exceptional handicraft skills of the Pueblo Indians. Also, the Mesa Verde is significant because it illustrated the Pueblo Indians’ wickerwork, weaving and especially ceramics of astonishing quality as discovered by archeologists. The Mesa Verde is a valued site by archaeologists as it unravels the hidden truths of the Pueblo society and culture.

Threats:

  • The Status of Mesa Verde is listed by the sites chief of research, Archaeologist Linda Towle:
    • “The very bottom row of stones that is dark, dark red and white, that’s where we have moisture seeping in, probably just from the back of the alcove. It’s sort of a perennial problem. Once the stones are soft and the mortar starts to erode, and they’re on the bottom, then the wall’s going to fall down” (http://savvytraveler.publicradio.org/show/features/1999/19990109/monument.shtml)

Links/Media

Fun Fact

  • More than 4,800 archaeological sites can be seen in the park.
  • Mesa Verde National Park is one of the oldest national parks
  • Mesa Verde is Spanish for “green table”
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