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Photographer's Note

Mesa Verde Cliff Palace
Mesa Verde National Park
near Cortez Colorado

Cliff Palace is the most well known of the near 600 cliff dwellings located in Mesa Verde National Park in Southwestern Colorado. 

The site opens for tours at 8:00 am .. and it is good to get to that first tour of the day .. or you will likely have the previous tour group milling about in your image.
(unfortunately at 8:00 am in the summer the light is off the opposite canyon wall - so be prepared for low light .. especially when you get down onto the paths and close to the site).

Many of the Ranger guided tours involve ladder climbing and heights .. this is one of the easier ones (a short hike down and up the cliffside with five 8 to 10 foot ladders on the way up).

It was constructed between c. 1190 - c. 1250 CE by the Ancient Pueblo People.
Originally it would have been decorated with earthen plasters of pink, brown, red, yellow, and white.

The Ancient Pueblo peoples (or Ancestral Pueblo Peoples) occupied the present day Four Corners region of the Southwestern United States. The Ancestral Puebloans inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years (550 A.D. to 1300 A.D.), but for the first six centuries, they primarily lived on the mesa tops. It was not until the final 75 to 100 years that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is known.

When I was a child these peoples were called the Anasazi .. a Navajo work for Ancient Ones or Ancient Enemy. These Ancient Pueblo peoples were actually the ancestors of today's Pueblo people (such as the Hopi .. and they prefer not to use the term Anasazi .. and so it is in process of being replaced in the professional lexicon.

Cliff Palace was abandoned by 1300. There is still debate about the cause of this. Draught is a very likely cause.

The palace contains 150 rooms and 23 Kivas (round sunken ceremonial rooms).

http://www.nps.gov/meve/historyculture/cd_cliff_palace.htm

http://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/guided_activities.htm

http://www.nps.gov/meve/faqs.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Pueblo_Peoples

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Palace

JCG, subhendu_bagchi, papagolf21, Graal, jhm, danos, jaywalker, Atousa, Charo, Matko has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by John McLaird (jmcl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2514 W: 131 N: 4070] (14535)
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