The Dizzying Dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park

The Native American homes on the edge

By CyArk

Mesa verde panorama (2018) by Kacey HadickCyArk

There are over four thousand archaeological sites at Mesa Verde National Park that together tell the story of more than 700 years of Native American history.  

Top Amer(Usa) Colorado Mesa VerdeLIFE Photo Collection

In 1874, a surveyor found out about Mesa Verde and the site started to get looted. A lot of the remarkable ceramics and weaving found there were stolen, so in 1906 the site became protected under the Federal Antiquities Act, signed by Theodore Roosevelt.  

Cup (12th–14th century)The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The pottery at Mesa Verde was in the Puebloan style, like this mug with bands of black zigzag designs running around the outside and a base that tapers towards the rim.  

Balcony House Mesa Verde National Park by CyArkCyArk

The people who called it home lived in dwellings built into the cliff. Each adobe pit house and stone tower was built to fit the shape of a different alcove, making each site unique.  

Puebloan cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park by CyArkCyArk

Even though Mesa Verde's structures are centuries old, the park is still an important place for American Indian communities today. Many of the sovereign Pueblo nations in New Mexico and Colorado can trace their ancestry back here.  

Take a look around this panorama of Cliff Palace.

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