Introducing Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park's archaeological sites spans over 700 years of Native American history from 600 - 1300 CE. The renowned cliff dwellings, the height of the Puebloans' architecture, include more than 600 alcove sites. Many of these sites, such as Spruce Tree House, Square Tower House and Fire Temple, were built towards the end of the Ancestral Puebloan occupation of the Mesa. Each cliff dwelling was adapted to the topography of its alcove, making these hundreds of archaeological sites unique. While we tend to see Mesa Verde as an archaeological site, for the Pueblo Indians still living in the area, Mesa Verde is an important heritage site. Many of the sovereign Pueblo nations in New Mexico and Colorado can trace their ancestry back to this region. After Mesa Verde became known to researchers in 1874, the site was heavily pillaged by collectors as it contained weaving, wickerwork and ceramics of remarkable quality. However, in 1906 the site became protected under the Federal Antiquities Act, signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt, making it one of the world's best managed natural, biological and archaeological reserve.