Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The structure built by the Ancestral Puebloans is located in Mesa Verde National Park in their former homeland region. The cliff dwelling and park are in the southwestern corner of Colorado, in the Southwestern United States.

Mesa Verde National Park Cliff Palace Right Part 2006 09 12
Cliff Palace in 2006
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Cliff Palace in 2003

History

Tree-ring dating indicates that construction and refurbishing of Cliff Palace was continuous approximately from 1190 CE through 1260 CE, although the major portion of the building was done within a 20-year time span. The Ancestral Pueblo that constructed this cliff dwelling and the others like it at Mesa Verde were driven to these defensible positions by "increasing competition amidst changing climatic conditions".[1] Cliff Palace was abandoned by 1300, and while debate remains as to the causes of this, some believe that a series of megadroughts interrupting food production systems is the main cause. Cliff Palace was rediscovered in 1888 by Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason while out looking for stray cattle.[2][3][4]

Description

Cliff Palace was constructed primarily out of sandstone, mortar and wooden beams. The sandstone was shaped using harder stones, and a mortar of soil, water and ash was used to hold everything together. "Chinking" stones were placed within the mortar to fill gaps and provide stability. Many of the walls were decorated with colored earthen plasters, which were the first to erode over time. Many visitors wonder about the relatively small size of the doorways at Cliff Palace; the explanation being that at the time the average man was under 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m), while the average woman was closer to 5 feet (1.5 m)[4] Cliff Palace contains 23 kivas (round sunken rooms of ceremonial importance) and 150 rooms and had a population of approximately 100 people. One kiva, in the center of the ruin, is at a point where the entire structure is partitioned by a series of walls with no doorways or other access portals. The walls of this kiva were plastered with one color on one side and a different color on the opposing side.[4] "It is thought that Cliff Palace was a social, administrative site with high ceremonial usage."[4] Archaeologists believe that Cliff Palace contained more clans than the surrounding Mesa Verde communities. This belief stems from the higher ratio of rooms to kivas. Cliff Palace has a room-to-kiva ratio of 9 to 1. The average room-to-kiva ratio for a Mesa Verde community is 12 to 1.[1] This ratio of kivas to rooms may suggest that Cliff Palace might have been the center of a large polity that included surrounding small communities.[1]

A large square tower is to the right and almost reaches the cave "roof". It was in ruins by the 1800s. The National Park Service carefully restored it to its approximate height and stature, making it one of the most memorable buildings in Cliff Palace. It is the tallest structure at Mesa Verde standing at 26 feet (7.9 m) tall, with four levels. Slightly differently colored materials were used to show that it was a restoration.[5][6]

Cliff Palace Dwellings

Cliff Palace dwellings

Mural 30, Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde

13th-century mural in the Square Tower, Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace Tower

Round tower, Cliff Palace in 1941.
Photograph by Ansel Adams.

References

  1. ^ a b c Snow, Dean R. (2010). Archaeology of Native North America. New York: Prentice-Hall. p. 128. ISBN 9780136156864.
  2. ^ Turney, Chris (2008). Ice, Mud & Blood: Lessons of Climates Past. Macmillan. ISBN 9780230553835.
  3. ^ "People". NPS.gov. National Park Service. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Cliff Palace". NPS.gov. National Park Service. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  5. ^ "Preservation". NPS.gov. National Park Service. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  6. ^ "Square Tower House Description". CyArk.org. Retrieved March 20, 2012.

Bibliography

  • Chapen, Frederick H. The Land of the Cliff-Dwellers. Appalachian Mountain Club, W. B. Clarke and Co., Boston, 1892. Reprinted by the University of Arizona Press, with notes and forward by Robert H. Lister, 1988. ISBN 0-8165-1052-0.
  • Noble, David Grant. "Ancient Ruins of the Southwest", pp. 36–43.Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, Arizona 1995. ISBN 0-87358-530-5.
  • Oppelt, Norman T. "Guide to Prehistoric Ruins of the Southwest", pp. 159–161. Pruett Publishing, Boulder, Colorado, 1989. ISBN 0-87108-783-9.

External links

Coordinates: 37°10′00″N 108°28′22″W / 37.16667°N 108.47278°W

1888 in archaeology

The year 1888 in archaeology involved some significant events.

Ancestral Puebloans

The Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. The Ancestral Puebloans are believed to have developed, at least in part, from the Oshara Tradition, who developed from the Picosa culture.

They lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger structures to house clans, grand pueblos, and cliff-sited dwellings for defense. The Ancestral Puebloans possessed a complex network that stretched across the Colorado Plateau linking hundreds of communities and population centers. They held a distinct knowledge of celestial sciences that found form in their architecture. The kiva, a congregational space that was used chiefly for ceremonial purposes, was an integral part of this ancient people's community structure.

In contemporary times, the people and their archaeological culture were referred to as Anasazi for historical purposes. The Navajo, who were not their descendants, called them by this term. Reflecting historic traditions, the term was used to mean "ancient enemies". Contemporary Puebloans do not want this term to be used.Archaeologists continue to debate when this distinct culture emerged. The current agreement, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around the 12th century BC, during the archaeologically designated Early Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers identified Ancestral Puebloans as the forerunners of contemporary Pueblo peoples. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the United States are credited to the Pueblos: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Taos Pueblo.

Colorado

Colorado ( (listen), other variants) is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.The state was named for the Colorado River, which early Spanish explorers named the Río Colorado for the ruddy silt the river carried from the mountains. The Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861, and on August 1, 1876, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed Proclamation 230 admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. Colorado is nicknamed the "Centennial State" because it became a state one century after the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Colorado is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, Oklahoma to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, and touches Arizona to the southwest at the Four Corners. Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of mountains, forests, high plains, mesas, canyons, plateaus, rivers and desert lands. Colorado is part of the western and southwestern United States, and is one of the Mountain States.

Denver is the capital and most populous city of Colorado. Residents of the state are known as Coloradans, although the antiquated term "Coloradoan" is occasionally used.

Colorado Plateau

The Colorado Plateau, also known as the Colorado Plateau Province, is a physiographic and desert region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. This province covers an area of 336, 700 km2 (130,000 mi2) within western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, southern and eastern Utah, and northern Arizona. About 90% of the area is drained by the Colorado River and its main tributaries: the Green, San Juan, and Little Colorado. Most of the remainder of the plateau is drained by the Rio Grande and its tributaries.The Colorado Plateau is largely made up of high desert, with scattered areas of forests. In the southwest corner of the Colorado Plateau lies the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Much of the Plateau's landscape is related, in both appearance and geologic history, to the Grand Canyon. The nickname "Red Rock Country" suggests the brightly colored rock left bare to the view by dryness and erosion. Domes, hoodoos, fins, reefs, river narrows, natural bridges, and slot canyons are only some of the additional features typical of the Plateau.

The Colorado Plateau has the greatest concentration of U.S. National Park Service (NPS) units in the country outside the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Among its nine National Parks are Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, and Petrified Forest. Among its 18 National Monuments are Bears Ears, Rainbow Bridge, Dinosaur, Hovenweep, Wupatki, Sunset Crater Volcano, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Natural Bridges, Canyons of the Ancients, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and the Colorado National Monument.

Frederick H. Chapin

Frederick Hastings Chapin (5 September 1852 – 25 January 1900) was an American businessman, mountaineer, photographer, amateur archaeologist and author. He is best known for his exploration of mesas and ancient Pueblo ruins found in the Mesa Verde area of Colorado.

Index of Colorado-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the U.S. state of Colorado.

Kristen Gremillion

Kristen Johnson Gremillion (born November 17, 1958) is an American anthropologist whose areas of specialization include paleoethnobotany, origins of agriculture, the prehistory of eastern North America, human paleoecology and paleodiet, and the evolutionary theory. Currently a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the Ohio State University and editor of the Journal of Ethnobiology, she has published many journal articles on these subjects.

List of archaeoastronomical sites by country

This is a list of sites where claims for the use of archaeoastronomy have been made, sorted by country.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) jointly published a thematic study on heritage sites of astronomy and archaeoastronomy to be used as a guide to UNESCO in its evaluation of the cultural importance of archaeoastronomical sites around the world, which discussed sample sites and provided categories for the classification of archaeoastronomical sites. The editors, Clive Ruggles and Michel Cotte, proposed that archaeoastronomical sites be considered in four categories: 1) Generally accepted; 2) Debated among specialists; 3) Unproven; and 4) Completely refuted.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is an American national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado. The park protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States.

Established by Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the park occupies 52,485 acres (21,240 ha) near the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. With more than 5,000 sites, including 600 cliff dwellings, it is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States. Mesa Verde (Spanish for "green table") is best known for structures such as Cliff Palace, thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America.

Starting c. 7500 BCE Mesa Verde was seasonally inhabited by a group of nomadic Paleo-Indians known as the Foothills Mountain Complex. The variety of projectile points found in the region indicates they were influenced by surrounding areas, including the Great Basin, the San Juan Basin, and the Rio Grande Valley. Later, Archaic people established semi-permanent rockshelters in and around the mesa. By 1000 BCE, the Basketmaker culture emerged from the local Archaic population, and by 750 CE the Ancestral Puebloans had developed from the Basketmaker culture.

The Mesa Verdeans survived using a combination of hunting, gathering, and subsistence farming of crops such as corn, beans, and squash. They built the mesa's first pueblos sometime after 650, and by the end of the 12th century, they began to construct the massive cliff dwellings for which the park is best known. By 1285, following a period of social and environmental instability driven by a series of severe and prolonged droughts, they abandoned the area and moved south to locations in Arizona and New Mexico, including Rio Chama, Pajarito Plateau, and Santa Fe.

Mesa Verde region

The Mesa Verde Region is a portion of the Colorado Plateau in the United States that extends through parts of New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. It is bounded by the San Juan River to the south, the Piedra River to the east, the San Juan Mountains to the north and the Colorado River to the west.The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center near Cortez, Colorado, in the heart of the Mesa Verde, has been conducting research in the region since 1982.

Although the Mesa Verde National Park contains the largest and best known ruins of the Pueblo peoples, there are many other community centers in the central Mesa Verde region dating to the period between 1050 and 1290 AD. This is a huge area covering over 150,000 square miles (390,000 km2).

Over 130 centers containing fifty or more residential structures have been identified in the central region, many of which have yet to be examined in any detail.A small portion of the Mesa Verde to the southeast of Cortez, Colorado contains the Mesa Verde National Park, which protects almost 5,000 archaeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings of the Ancient Pueblo Peoples who lived in the area between 600 and 1300 AD.

Other parks in the Mesa Verde from west to east include the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Yucca House National Monument and Aztec Ruins National Monument.

Richard Wetherill

Richard Wetherill (1858–1910), a member of a prominent Colorado ranching family, was an amateur explorer in the discovery, research and excavation of sites associated with the Ancient Pueblo People. He is credited with the discovery of Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde and was responsible for initially selecting the term Anasazi, Navajo for ancient enemies, as the name for these ancient people. He also discovered Kiet Seel ruin, now included, along with Betatakin ruin, in Navajo National Monument in northeastern Arizona. "Slightly smaller than Cliff Palace, Kiet Seel possesses qualities that, in the eyes of some, lend it greater charm and interest." Wetherill became fascinated by the ruins and artifacts and made a career as an explorer, guide, excavator and trading post operator.

Rimrock

Rimrock is the sheer rock wall at the upper edge of a plateau, canyon, or geological uplift. It may refer to either the rock formation or to the rock itself. Rimrock may be composed of almost any stone—basalt, gneiss, granite, sandstone, etc.—and is frequently layered. Many times it overlays a softer stone which erodes away underneath. American Indians in the West often used cavities found below rimrock to construct dwellings and granaries.

Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwellings

The Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwellings are a series of Pre-Columbian native American cliff-dwellings located in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. They were built between 1280 and 1350 by the Salado people. The Sierra Ancha is home to several prominent ruin sites known as the Devil's Chasm Fortress, the Canyon Creek Ruins, the Pueblo Canyon Ruins, the Cold Springs Canyon Ruins, and the Cooper Forks Canyon Ruins. Collectively they have been called the Cherry Creek Ruins.

Timeline of North American prehistory

This is a timeline of in North American prehistory, from 1000 BC until European contact.

Timeline of United States discoveries

Timeline of United States discoveries encompasses the breakthroughs of human thought and knowledge of new scientific findings, phenomena, places, things, and what was previously unknown to exist. From a historical stand point, the timeline below of United States discoveries dates from the 18th century to the current 21st century, which have been achieved by discoverers who are either native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States.

With an emphasis of discoveries in the fields of astronomy, physics, chemistry, medicine, biology, geology, paleontology, and archaeology, United States citizens acclaimed in their professions have contributed much. For example, the "Bone Wars," beginning in 1877 and ending in 1892, was an intense period of rivalry between two American paleontologists, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, who initiated several expeditions throughout North America in the pursuit of discovering, identifying, and finding new species of dinosaur fossils. In total, their large efforts resulted in when 142 species of dinosaurs being discovered. With the founding of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, a vision and continued commitment by the United States of finding extraterrestrial and astronomical discoveries has helped the world to better understand our solar system and universe. As one example, in 2008, the Phoenix lander discovered the presence of frozen water on the planet Mars of which scientists such as Peter H. Smith of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) had suspected before the mission confirmed its existence.

Timeline of dendrochronology timestamp events

A Timeline of dendrochronology timestamped events.

United States

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2), the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles (10.1 million km2). With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Following the French and Indian War, numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, and the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776. The war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, and gradually admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848.During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery. By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, and its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U.S. Moon landing. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower.The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a federal republic and a representative democracy. The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), and other international organizations. The United States is a highly developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for approximately a quarter of global GDP. The U.S. economy is largely post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U.S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country.Despite income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank very high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, and worker productivity. The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, and is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.

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