image from pinterest.com
“Amid these centuries-old dwellings, we are
reminded that this was the first National Park
that was established in America.”--Barbara Bush.
As a kid, I was always fascinated by the
colorful paintings of pueblos, the stone
villages of the Navaho, Hopi and Ute. No skin
tepees for these folks, nope. Each house had
apartments, and could be inhabited by dozens
In Montezuma County, Colorado, just kitty-
corner from Four Corners in the American
Southwest, there is a grand plateau where a
native population thrived for centuries. Teddy
Roosevelt made it a National Park in 1906. It
has 52,485 acres, over 5,000 extant sites, with
over 600 cliff dwellings. It is the largest
archaeological site in the United States. Taking
the family up there, it was a long steep drive, and
our old minivan overheated.
From 7500 B.C. to 1285 A.D., the Paleo-Indians of
the Stone Mountain complex farmed and hunted on
the vast mesa (green plateau in Spanish). They
designed and built their pueblos out in the open.
A severe drought in the 1100’s forced them to band
together pro-actively, and they began to build their
homes into the alcoves and rock overhangs in the
face of the canyon walls. The structures were made
of huge sandstone blocks, held together and
plastered with adobe mortar. They became very
clever at water conservation, aqueducts and food
storage. They all had guard towers, kivas and pit
rooms. They were built with windows facing south
in U,E, and L-shapes, with T-shaped doors. in 1285
another very severe drought overtook them and all
of the cliff dwellings were abandoned.
Eagles on tethers,
on Navaho arms, were both
pets and sentinels.
Posted over at d'Verse Poets P