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Title: Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace - Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 51, Government - Printing Office, Washington, 1911.
Author: Fewkes, Jesse Walter, 1850-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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        _Washington, D. C., May 14, 1910_.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the accompanying manuscript, entitled
"Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace," by Dr.
Jesse Walter Fewkes, with the recommendation that it be published,
subject to your approval, as Bulletin 51 of this Bureau.

    Yours, very respectfully,

                             F. W. HODGE,
                        _Ethnologist in Charge_.

      _Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution_,
        _Washington, D. C._



  Introduction                                           9

  Cliff Palace a type of prehistoric culture            11

  Recent history                                        13

  Site of Cliff Palace                                  20

  Prehistoric trails to Cliff Palace                    23

  General features                                      23

      Destruction by the elements                       23

      Vandalism                                         24

      Repair of walls                                   25

      Major antiquities                                 25

  General plan of Cliff Palace                          26

      Terraces and retaining walls                      27

      Tower quarter                                     27

      Plaza quarter                                     28

      Old quarter                                       28

      Northern quarter                                  28

      Masonry                                           29

      Adobe bricks                                      30

      Plastering                                        31

      Paintings and rock markings                       32

      Refuse heaps                                      33

      Secular rooms                                     33

      Doors and windows                                 34

      Floors and roofs                                  35

      Fireplaces                                        36

      Living rooms                                      36

      Milling rooms                                     37

      Granaries                                         38

      Crematories                                       38

      Ledge rooms                                       40

  Enumeration of the rooms in Cliff Palace              40

      Secular rooms                                     40

      Kivas                                             48

          Kivas of the first type                       49

              Kiva A                                    51

              Kiva B                                    52

              Kiva C                                    53

              Kiva D                                    53

              Kiva E                                    53

              Kiva F                                    54

              Kiva G                                    54

              Kiva H                                    55

              Kiva I                                    55

              Kiva J                                    56

              Kiva K                                    57

              Kiva L                                    57

              Kiva N                                    57

              Kiva P                                    58

              Kiva Q                                    58

              Kiva S                                    59

              Kiva T                                    59

              Kiva U                                    60

              Kiva V                                    60

          A subtype of kivas (Kiva M)                   61

          Kivas of the second type                      62

              Kiva O                                    63

              Kiva R                                    63

              Kiva W                                    63

  Minor antiquities                                     64

      Stone implements                                  65

          Pounding stones                               66

          Grinding stones                               66

          Miscellaneous stones                          66

      Pottery                                           67

          Relations as determined by pottery            70

          Symbols on pottery                            71

          Pottery rests                                 72

      Basketry                                          72

      Sandals                                           72

      Wooden objects                                    73

      Drills                                            74

      Bone implements                                   74

      Turquoise ear pendants and other objects          75

      Seeds                                             75

      Textiles                                          76

  Human burials                                         77

  Conclusions                                           78



  PLATE  1. Cliff Palace, from the Speaker-chief's house to the
              southern end                                            9

         2. Cliff Palace, from the opposite side of the canyon       11

         3. The southern end, after and before repairing             12

         4. Central part before repairing                            15

         5. The round tower, from the north. General view of the
              ruin, before repairing                                 16

         6. Central part, after repairing                            19

         7. Southern end, after repairing                            20

         8. Ground plan                                              22

         9. Main entrance. Southern end, showing repaired terraces   24

        10. Tower quarter, after repairing. Terraces at southern
              end, after repairing                                   27

        11. Tower quarter                                            29

        12. The square tower, before and after repairing             31

        13. Details of Cliff Palace                                  33

        14. Square tower, after repairing. Old quarter               34

        15. Speaker-chief's house, after repairing                   36

        16. Northern part, from the Speaker-chief's house to the
              western end                                            39

        17. Details of kiva A                                        41

        18. Kiva H, before repairing                                 43

        19. Southeastern wall of kiva Q, before repairing            45

        20. Axe with original handle                                 47

        21. Stone hatchets                                           48

        22. Stone objects                                            50

        23. Various objects from Cliff Palace                        52

        24. Food bowls                                               55

        25. Vases and food bowls                                     56

        26. Pottery                                                  58

        27. Pitch balls and vase                                     60

        28. Rests for jars                                           63

        29. Basket hopper--side and bottom views                     64

        30. Sandals                                                  66

        31. Sandals                                                  66

        32. Sandals                                                  66

        33. Wooden objects                                           73

        34. Bone implements                                          74

        35. Bone implements                                          76

  FIG.   1. View down Navaho canyon                                  21

         2. Coil of basket plaque                                    73

         3. Planting sticks                                          74

         4. Woven forehead band                                      76

[Illustration: PLATE 1







In the summer of 1909 the writer was detailed by the Secretary of the
Smithsonian Institution, at the request of the Secretary of the
Interior, to continue the excavation and repair of ruins in the Mesa
Verde National Park, Colorado. This work was placed under his sole
charge and continued through the months May to August, inclusive. In
that time the writer was able to repair completely this great ruin and
to leave it in such condition that tourists and students visiting it may
learn much more about cliff-dwellings than was possible before the work
was undertaken.

The force of laborers, numbering on an average 15 workmen, was from
Mancos, Colorado. Many of them had worked on Spruce-tree House during
the previous year and had become expert in repairing ruins. By their aid
it was possible to accomplish more and at less expense than was
expected. It has fallen to the writer to prepare the report on the work
which he had the honor to direct, and he is conscious how difficult it
is to put it into a form that will adequately express the devotion with
which those under him have accomplished their respective tasks.

A report on the general results accomplished at Cliff Palace was
published by the Secretary of the Interior in 1909; the following
account considers in a more detailed way the various scientific phases.
The purpose of the present paper is to present a more accurate account
of Cliff Palace than was possible before the excavation and repair work
was done, and to increase existing knowledge by directing attention to
the scientific data revealed by excavations of this largest, most
picturesque, and most typical cliff-dwelling in the Southwest. In order
to give this account a monographic form there have been introduced the
most important descriptions of Cliff Palace previously published. There
is also included a description of the few minor antiquities brought to
light in the progress of the work. These specimens are now in the United
States National Museum, where they form the nucleus of a collection
from Cliff Palace. The increasing interest, local and national, in the
prehistoric culture of the Southwest and the influence of these
antiquities in attracting visitors to localities where they exist,
furnish a reason for considering in some detail various other questions
of general interest connected with cliff-dwellings that naturally
suggest themselves to those interested in the history of man in America.

The method of work in this undertaking has been outlined in the report
on Spruce-tree House published by the Secretary of the Interior.[1] The
primary thought has been to increase the educational value of Cliff
Palace by attracting tourists and students of archeology.

[Footnote 1: In his Annual Report for 1908. See also _Bulletin 41 of the
Bureau of American Ethnology_.]

The reader is reminded that from the nature of the work at Cliff Palace
very few specimens can be expected from it in the future, and that so
far as the minor antiquities are concerned the objective material from
this ruin is now all deposited in public museums or in private
collections. Additional specimens can be obtained, however, from other
ruins near it which will throw light on the culture of Cliff Palace. It
is appropriate, therefore, to point out, at the very threshold of our
consideration, that a continuation of archeological work in the Mesa
Verde National Park is desirable, as it will add to our knowledge of the
character of prehistoric life in these canyons. The next work to be
undertaken should be the excavation and repair of a Mesa Verde pueblo.
The extensive mounds of stone and earth on the promontory west of Cliff
Palace have not yet been excavated, and offer attractive possibilities
for study and a promise of many specimens. Buried in these mounds there
are undoubtedly many rooms, secular and ceremonial, which a season's
work could uncover, thus enlarging indirectly our knowledge of the
cliff-dwellers and their descendants.[2]

[Footnote 2: A few holes that have been dug here and there in these
mounds have brought to light sections of walls with good masonry, but no
excavations that could be called extensive or scientific have yet been
attempted on this site. The excavation of these mounds might reveal a
pueblo like Walpi, and a comparison of objects from them with those from
Cliff Palace would be important in tracing the relationship of
cliff-dwellings and pueblos.]

The writer considers it an honor to have been placed in charge of the
excavation and repair of Cliff Palace, and takes this occasion to
express high appreciation of his indebtedness to both the Secretary of
the Smithsonian Institution and the Secretary of the Interior for their
confidence in his judgment in this difficult undertaking.

Maj. Hans M. Randolph, superintendent of the Mesa Verde National Park,
gave assistance in purchasing the equipment, making out accounts, and in
other ways. During the sojourn at Cliff Palace the writer was
accompanied by Mr. R. G. Fuller, of the Peabody Museum of Harvard
University, a volunteer assistant, who contributed some of the
photographs used in the preparation of the plates that accompany this
report. The writer is indebted also to Mr. F. K. Vreeland, of Montclair,
New Jersey, for several fine photographs of Cliff Palace taken before
the repairing was done.

[Illustration: PLATE 2



In the following pages the walls and other remains of buildings and the
objects found in the rooms have been treated from their cultural point
of view. Considering ethnology, or culture history, as the comparative
study of mental productions of groups of men in different epochs, and
cultural archeology as a study of those objects belonging to a time
antedating recorded history, there has been sought in Cliff Palace one
type of prehistoric American culture, or rather a type of the mental
production of a group of men in an environment where, so far as external
influences are concerned, caves, mesas, and cliffs are predominant and
aridity is a dominant climatic factor. Primarily archeology is a study
of the expression of human intelligence, and it must be continually
borne in mind that Cliff Palace was once the home of men and women whose
minds responded to their surroundings. It is hoped that this monograph
will be a contribution to a study of the influence of environment on the
material condition of a group of prehistoric people. The condition of
culture here brought to light is in part a result of experiences
transmitted from one generation to another, but while this heritage of
culture is due to environment, intensified by each transmission, there
are likewise in it survivals of the culture due to antecedent
environments, which have also been preserved by heredity, but has
diminished in proportion, pari passu, as the epoch in which they
originated is farther and farther removed in time from the environment
that created them. These survivals occur mostly in myths and religious
cult objects, and are the last to be abandoned when man changes his

It is believed that one advantage of a series of monographic
descriptions of these ruins is found in the fact that the
characteristics of individual ruins being known, more accurate
generalizations concerning the entire culture will later be made
possible by comparative studies. There is an individuality in Cliff
Palace, not only in its architecture but also in a still greater measure
in the symbolism of the pottery decoration. These features vary more or
less in different ruins, notwithstanding their former inhabitants were
of similar culture. These variations are lost in a general description
of that culture.

The reader is asked to bear in mind that when the repair of Cliff Palace
was undertaken the vandalism wrought by those who had dug into it had
destroyed much data and greatly reduced the possibility of
generalizations on the character of its culture. The ruin had been
almost completely rifled of its contents, the specimens removed, and its
walls left in a very dilapidated condition. Much of the excavation
carried on under the writer's supervision yielded meager scientific
results so far as the discovery of specimens was concerned; throughout
the summer earth was being dug over that had already been examined and
cult objects removed. Had it been possible to have begun work on Cliff
Palace just after the ruin was deserted by the aboriginal inhabitants,
or, as that was impossible, at least anticipated only by the destruction
wrought by the elements, these explorations might have illumined many
difficult problems which must forever remain unsolved.

The present monograph is the second in a series dealing with the
antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park and opening with the account
of the excavation and repair of Spruce-tree House.[3] An exhaustive
account of all known antiquities from Cliff Palace is not intended, and
no reference is made even to many objects from that ruin now in museums.
Discussion of details is not so much aimed at as brevity in the
statement of results and a contribution to our knowledge of a typical
form of Southwestern culture. Believing that modern Pueblo culture is
the direct descendant of that of cliff-dwellers, the writer has not
hesitated to make use of ethnology, when possible, in an interpretation
of the archeological material.

[Footnote 3: _Bulletin 41 of the Bureau of American Ethnology._]

Although the name Cliff Palace is not altogether an appropriate one for
this ruin, it is now too firmly fixed in the literature of
cliff-dwellings to be changed. The term "palace" implies a higher social
development than that which existed in this village, which undoubtedly
had a house chief similar to the village chief (_kimongwi_) of the Hopi,
who occupied that position on account of being the oldest man of the
oldest clan; but this ruin is not the remains of a "palace" of such a

The population of Cliff Palace was composed of many clans, more or less
distinct and independent, which were rapidly being amalgamated by
marriage; so we may regard the population as progressing toward a
homogeneous community. Cliff Palace was practically a pueblo built in a
cave; its population grew from both without and within: new clans from
time to time joined those existing, while new births continually
augmented the number of inhabitants.

There was no water at Cliff Palace[4] when work began, but a good supply
was developed in the canyon below the ruin, where there is every reason
to believe the former inhabitants had their well. In a neighboring
canyon, separated from that in which Cliff Palace is situated by a
promontory at the north, there is also a meager seepage of water which
was developed incidentally into a considerable supply. In the cliff
above this water is a large cave in which was discovered the walls of a
kiva of the second type, but the falling of a large block of rock upon
it--which occurred subsequent to the construction of this kiva--led to
its abandonment. This cave is extensive enough for a cliff-house as
large as Cliff Palace; but for this accident it might have developed
into a formidable rival of the latter.

[Footnote 4: All potable water for camp had to be brought from
Spruce-tree House, about 2 miles away.]

[Illustration: PLATE 3




It is remarkable that this magnificent ruin (pl. 1) so long escaped
knowledge of white settlers in the neighboring Montezuma valley. Cliff
Palace is not mentioned in early Spanish writings, and, indeed, the
first description of it was not published until about 1890.

Efforts to learn the name of the white man who discovered Cliff Palace
were not rewarded with great success. According to Nordenskiöld it was
first seen by Richard Wetherill and Charley Mason on a "December day in
1888," but several residents of the towns of Mancos and Cortez claim to
have visited it before that time. One of the first of these visitors was
a cattle owner of Mancos, Mr. James Frink, who told the author that he
first saw Cliff Palace in 1881, and as several stockmen were with him at
that time it is probable that there are others who visited it the same
year. We may conclude that Cliff Palace was unknown to scientific men in
1880, and the most we can definitely say is that it was first seen by
white men some time in the decade 1880-1890.[5]

[Footnote 5: It is generally stated by stockmen and others who claim to
have seen Cliff Palace "years ago," that the walls of the buildings were
much higher in the early eighties than they are at present.]

While there is considerable literature on the cliff-dwellings of the
Mesa Verde, individual ruins have not been exhaustively described. Much
less has been published on Spruce-tree House than on Cliff Palace, which
latter ruin, being the largest, has attracted more attention than any
other in the Park. As every cliff-house has its peculiar architectural
features it is well in describing these buildings to refer to the ruins
by names. This individuality in architecture pertains likewise to
specimens, the majority of which in museums unfortunately are labeled
merely "Mancos" or "Mesa Verde." A large number of these objects
probably came from Spruce-tree House and Cliff Palace, but it is now
impossible to determine their exact derivation.

The first extended account of Cliff Palace, accompanied with
illustrations, which is worthy of special mention, was published by Mr.
F. H. Chapin, and so far as priority of publication is concerned he may
be regarded as the first to make Cliff Palace known to the scientific
world. Almost simultaneously with his article there appeared an account
of the ruin by Doctor Birdsall, followed shortly by the superbly
illustrated memoir of Baron Gustav Nordenskiöld. All these writers adopt
the name Cliff Palace, which apparently was first given to the ruin by
Richard Wetherill, one of the claimants for its discovery.
Nordenskiöld's work contains practically all that was known about Cliff
Palace up to the beginning of the summer's field work herein described.

Mr. Chapin[6] thus referred to Cliff Palace in a paper read before The
Appalachian Mountain Club on February 13, 1890:

[Footnote 6: _Appalachia_, VI, 28-30, May, 1890, Boston, 1892.]

     After a long ride we reached a camping-ground at the head of a
     branch of the left-hand fork of Cliff Cañon. Hurriedly
     unpacking, we hobbled the horses that were the most likely to
     stray far, and taking along our photographic kit, wended our
     way on foot toward that remarkable group of ruins of which I
     have already spoken, and which Richard has called "the
     Cliff-Palace." At about three o'clock we reached the brink of
     the cañon opposite the wonderful structure. Surely its
     discoverer had not overstated the beauty and magnitude of this
     strange ruin. There it was, occupying a great oval space under
     a grand cliff wonderful to behold, appearing like an immense
     ruined castle with dismantled towers. The stones in front were
     broken away, but behind them rose the walls of a second story;
     and in the rear of these, in under the dark cavern, stood the
     third tier of masonry. Still farther back in the gloomy recess,
     little houses rested on upper ledges. A short distance down the
     cañon are cosey buildings perched in utterly inaccessible
     nooks. The neighboring scenery is marvelous; the view down the
     cañon to the Mancos is alone worth the journey to see. We
     stopped to take a few views, and then commenced the descent
     into the gulf below. What would otherwise have been a hazardous
     proceeding, was rendered easy by using the steps which had been
     cut in the wall by the builders of the fortress. There are
     fifteen of these scouped-out hollows in the rock, which covered
     perhaps half of the distance down the precipice. At that point
     the cliff had probably fallen away; but luckily for our
     purpose, a dead tree leaned against the wall, and descending
     into its branches we reached the base of the parapet. In the
     bed of the cañon is a secondary gulch, which required care in
     descending. We hung a rope or lasso over some steep, smooth
     ledges, and let ourselves down by it. We left it hanging there
     and used it to ascend by on our return.

     Nearer approach increased our interest in the marvel. From the
     south end of the ruin, which we first attained, trees hide the
     northern walls, yet the view is beautiful. We remained long,
     and ransacked the structure from one end to the other.
     According to Richard's measurements, the space covered by the
     building is 425 feet long, 80 feet high in front, and 80 feet
     deep in the centre. One hundred and twenty-four rooms have been
     traced on the ground floor, and a thousand people may have
     lived within its confines. So many walls have fallen that it is
     difficult to reconstruct the building in imagination; but the
     photographs show that there must have been many stories. There
     are towers and circular rooms, square and rectangular
     enclosures; yet all with a seeming symmetry, though in some
     places the walls look as if they were put up as additions in
     later periods. One of the towers is barrel-shaped; other
     circles are true. The diameter of one circular room, or estufa,
     is sixteen feet and six inches. There are six piers, which are
     well plastered. There are five recess-holes, which appear as if
     constructed for shelves. In several rooms we observed good
     fireplaces. In another room, where the outer walls have fallen
     away, we found that an attempt had been made at ornamentation:
     a broad band had been painted across the wall, and above it is
     a peculiar decoration which shows in one of our photographs.
     The lines are similar to embellishment on pottery which we
     found. We observed in one place corn-cobs imbedded in the
     plaster in the walls, showing that the cob is as old as that
     portion of the dwelling. The cobs, as well as kernels of corn
     which we found, are of small size, similar to what the Ute
     squaws raise now without irrigation. We found a large stone
     mortar, which may have been used to grind the corn. Broken
     pottery was everywhere; like specimens in the other cliff
     houses, it was similar in design to that which we picked up in
     the valley ruins near Wetherill's ranch, convincing us of the
     identity of the builders of the two classes of ruins. We also
     found parts of skulls and bones, fragments of weapons, and
     pieces of cloth. One nearly complete skeleton lies on a wall
     waiting for some future antiquarian. The burial-place of the
     clan was down under the rear of the cave.

[Illustration: PLATE 4



Dr. W. R. Birdsall,[7] who in 1891 gave an account of the
cliff-dwellings of the canyons of the Mesa Verde, which contains
considerable information regarding these buildings, thus refers
specially to Cliff Palace:

[Footnote 7: _Jour. Amer. Geog. Soc._, XXIII, no. 4, 598, New York,

     Richard Wetherill discovered an unusually large group of
     buildings which he named "The Cliff Palace," in which the
     ground plan showed more than one hundred compartments, covering
     an area over four hundred feet in length and eighty feet in
     depth in the wider portion. Usually the buildings are
     continuous where the configuration of the cliffs permitted such

In the following account Baron Nordenskiöld has given us the most
exhaustive description of Cliff Palace yet published:[8]

[Footnote 8: In The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde (a translation in
English from the Swedish edition, Stockholm, 1893), (pp. 59-66),
unfortunately not accessible to most readers on account of the limited
edition and the cost. For this reason the description is here reproduced
in extenso. (The references to illustrations and the footnotes in this
excerpt follow Nordenskiöld.)]

     In a long, but not very deep branch of Cliff Cañon, a wild and
     gloomy gorge named Cliff Palace Cañon, lies the largest of the
     ruins on the Mesa Verde, the Cliff Palace. Strange and
     indescribable is the impression on the traveller, when, after a
     long and tiring ride through the boundless, monotonous piñon
     forest, he suddenly halts on the brink of the precipice, and in
     the opposite cliff beholds the ruins of the Cliff Palace,
     framed in the massive vault of rock above and in a bed of
     sunlit cedar and piñon trees below (Pl. XII). This ruin well
     deserves its name, for with its round towers and high walls
     rising out of the heaps of stones deep in the mysterious
     twilight of the cavern, and defying in their sheltered site the
     ravages of time, it resembles at a distance an enchanted
     castle. It is not surprising that the Cliff Palace so long
     remained undiscovered. An attempt to follow Cliff Palace Cañon
     upward from Cliff Cañon meets with almost insurmountable
     obstacles in the shape of huge blocks of stone which have
     fallen from the cliffs and formed a barrier across the narrow
     water course, in most parts of the cañon the only practicable
     path between the steep walls of rock. Through the piñon forest,
     which renders the mesa a perfect labyrinth to the uninitiated,
     chance alone can guide the explorer to the exact spot from
     which a view of Cliff Palace is possible.

     The descent to the ruin may be made from the mesa either on the
     opposite side of the cañon, or on the same a few hundred paces
     north or south of the cliff-dwelling. The Cliff Palace is
     probably the largest ruin of its kind known in the United
     States. I here give a plan of the ruin (Pl. XI) together with a
     photograph thereof, taken from the south end of the cave (Pl.
     XII). In the plan, which represents the ground floor, over a
     hundred rooms are shown. About twenty of them are estufas.
     Among the rubbish and stones in front of the ruin a few more
     walls, not marked in the plan, may possibly be distinguished.

     Plate XIII, as I have just mentioned, is a photograph of the
     Cliff Palace from the south. To the extreme left of the plate a
     number of much dilapidated walls may be seen. They correspond
     to rooms 1-12 in the plan. To the right of these walls lies a
     whole block of rooms (13-18), several stories high and built on
     a huge rock which has fallen from the roof of the cave. The
     outermost room (14 in the plan; to the left in Pl. XIII) is
     bounded on the outside by a high wall, the outlines of which
     stand off sharply from the dark background of the cave. The
     wall is built in a quadrant at the edge of the rock just
     mentioned, which has been carefully dressed, the wall thus
     forming apparently an immediate continuation of the rock. The
     latter is coursed by a fissure which also extends through the
     wall. This crevice must therefore have appeared subsequent to
     the building operation. To the right of this curved wall (still
     in Pl. XIII) lie four rooms (15-18 in the plan), and in front
     of them two terraces (21-22) connected by a step. One of the
     rooms is surrounded by walls three stories high and reaching up
     to the roof of the cave. The terraces are bounded to the north
     (the left in Pl. XIII) by a rather high wall, standing apart
     from the remainder of the building. Not far from the rooms just
     mentioned, but a little farther back, lie two cylindrical
     chambers (21 _a_, 23). The wall of 21 _a_ is shown in Pl. XIII
     with a beam resting against it. The beam had been placed there
     by one of the Wetherills to assist him in climbing to an upper
     ledge, where low walls, resembling the fortress at Long House
     (p. 28), rise almost to the roof of the cave. The round room 23
     is joined by a wall to a long series of chambers (26-41), which
     are very low, though their walls extend to the rock above them.
     They probably served as storerooms. These chambers front on a
     "street," on the opposite side of which lie a number of
     apartments[9] (42-50), among them a remarkable estufa (44)
     described at greater length below. In front of 44 lies another
     estufa (51), and not far from the latter a third (52).

[Footnote 9: The room marked 48 in the plan is visible in Pl. XIII.
Almost in the center of the plate, but a little to the right, two small
loopholes may be seen, and to their right a doorway, all of which belong
to room 48; the walls of 49 and 50 are much lower than those of 48.
Behind 48 the high walls of 43 may be distinguished.]

     The "street" leads to an open space. Here lie three estufas
     (54, 55, 56), partly sunk in the ground. Much lower down is
     situated another estufa (57) of the same type as 44. It is
     surrounded by high walls.[10] South of the open space lie a few
     large rooms (58-61). A tower (63 in the plan; the large tower
     to the right in Pl. XIII) is situated still farther south,
     beside a steep ledge. This ledge, north of the tower (to the
     left in the plate), once formed a free terrace (62), bounded on
     the outside by a low wall along the margin. South of the tower
     is an estufa (76) surrounded by an open space, southeast of
     which are a number of rooms (80-87). In most of them, even in
     the outermost ones, the walls are in an excellent state of
     preservation. The wall nearest to the talus slope is 6 metres
     high and built with great care and skill.[11] South of these
     rooms and close to the cliff lies a well-preserved estufa (88),
     and south of the latter four rooms are situated, two of them
     (90, 92) very small. The walls of the third (91) are very high
     and rise to the roof of the cave. At one corner the walls have
     fallen in. This room is figured in a subsequent chapter in
     order to show a painting found on one of its walls. Near the
     cliff lies the last estufa (93), in an excellent state of
     preservation. The rooms south of this estufa are bounded on the
     outer side by a high wall rising to the rock above it. An
     excellent defense was thus provided against attack in this

[Footnote 10: They are shown in the plate just to the left of the fold
at its middle, rather low down.]

[Footnote 11: A part of this wall may be seen to the extreme right of
Pl. XIII, and also in Fig. 34 behind and to the right of the tower.]

[Illustration: PLATE 5




     Two of the estufas in the Cliff Palace deviate from the normal
     type. This is the only instance where I have observed estufas
     differing in construction from the ordinary form described in
     Chapter III. The northern estufa (44 in the plan) is the better
     preserved of the two. To a height of 1 meter from the floor it
     is square in form (3×3 m.) with rounded corners (see figs. 35
     and 36). Above it is wider and bounded by the walls of the
     surrounding rooms, a ledge (_b_, _b_) of irregular shape being
     thus formed a few feet from the floor. In two of the rounded
     corners on a level with this ledge (a little to the right in
     fig. 36) niches or hollows (_d_, _d_; breadth 48 cm., depth 45
     cm.) have been constructed, and between them, at the middle of
     the south-east wall, a narrow passage (breadth 40 cm.), open at
     the top. At the bottom of one side of this passage a
     continuation thereof was found, corresponding probably to the
     tunnel in estufas of the ordinary type. At the north corner of
     the room the wall is broken by three small niches (_e_, _e_,
     _e_) quite close together, each of them occupying a space about
     equal to that left by the removal of two stones from the wall.
     The sandstone blocks of which the walls are built are carefully
     hewn, as in the ordinary cylindrical estufas. Whether the usual
     hearth, in form of a basin, and the wall beside it, had been
     constructed here I was unfortunately unable to determine, more
     than half of the room being filled with rubbish. I give the
     name of estufas to these square rooms with rounded corners,
     built as described above, because they are furnished with the
     passage characteristic of the round estufas in the
     cliff-dwellings. Perhaps they mark the transition to the
     rectangular estufa of the Moki Indians. Besides the estufas
     there are some other round rooms or towers (21 _a_, 23, 63),
     which evidently belonged to the fortifications of the village.
     They differ from the estufas in the absence of the
     characteristic passage and also of the six niches. Furthermore,
     they often contain several stories, and in every respect but
     the form resemble the rectangular rooms. The long wall just
     mentioned, built on a narrow ledge above the other ruins, and
     visible at the top of Pl. XIII was probably another part of the
     village fortifications. The ledge is situated so near the roof
     of the cave that the wall, though quite low, touches the
     latter, and the only way of advancing behind it is to creep on
     hands and knees.

     A comparison between Pl. VIII and Pl. XIII shows at once that
     the inhabitants of the Cliff Palace were further advanced in
     architecture than their more western kinsfolk on the Mesa
     Verde. The stones are carefully dressed and often laid in
     regular courses; the walls are perpendicular, sometimes leaning
     slightly inwards at the same angle all round the room--this
     being part of the design. All the corners form almost perfect
     right angles, when the surroundings have permitted the builders
     to observe this rule. This remark also applies to the doorways,
     the sides of which are true and even. The lintel often consists
     of a large stone slab, extending right across the opening. On
     closer observation we find that in the Cliff Palace we may
     discriminate two slightly different methods of building. The
     lower walls, where the stones are only rough-hewn and laid
     without order, are often surmounted by walls of carefully
     dressed blocks in regular courses. This circumstance suggests
     that the cave was inhabited during two different periods. I
     shall have occasion below to return to this question.

     The rooms of the Cliff Palace seem to have been better provided
     with light and air than the cliff-dwellings in general, small
     peep-holes appearing at several places in the walls. The
     doorways, as in other cliff-dwellings, are either rectangular
     or T-shaped. Some of the latter are of unusual size, in one
     instance 1.05 m. high and 0.81 m. broad at the top. The
     thickness of the walls is generally about 0.3 m., sometimes, in
     the outer walls, as much as 0.6 m. As a rule they are not
     painted, but in some rooms covered with a thin coat of yellow
     plaster. At the south end of the ruin lies an estufa (93) which
     is well-preserved (fig. 37). This estufa is entered by a
     doorway in the wall, one of the few instances where I have
     observed this arrangement. In most cases, as I have already
     mentioned, the entrance was probably constructed in the roof.
     The dimensions of this estufa were as follows: diameter 3.9 m.,
     distance from the floor to the bottom of the niches 1.2 m.,
     height of the niches 0.9 m., breadth of the same 1.3 m., depth
     of the same 0.5 to 1.3 m., height of the passage at its mouth
     0.75 m., breadth of the same 0.45 m. Five small quadrangular
     holes or niches were scattered here and there in the lower part
     of the wall.

     I cannot refrain from once more laying stress on the skill to
     which the walls of Cliff Palace in general bear witness, and
     the stability and strength which has been supplied to them by
     the careful dressing of the blocks and the chinking of the
     interstices with small chips of stone. A point remarked by
     Jackson in his description of the ruins of Southwestern
     Colorado, is that the finger marks of the mason may still be
     traced in the mortar, and that those marks are so small as to
     suggest that the work of building was performed by women. This
     conclusion seems too hasty, for within the range of my
     observations the size of the finger marks varies not a little.

     Like Sprucetree House and other large ruins the Cliff Palace
     contains at the back of the cave extensive open spaces where
     tame turkeys were probably kept. In this part of the village
     three small rooms, isolated from the rest of the building,
     occupy a position close to the cliff; two of them (103, 104),
     built of large flat slabs of stones, lie close together, the
     third (105), of unhewn sandstone (fig. 38), is situated farther
     north. These rooms may serve as examples of the most primitive
     form of architecture among the cliff people.

     In the Cliff Palace, the rooms lie on different levels, the
     ground occupied by them being very rough. In several places
     terraces have been constructed in order to procure a level
     foundation, and here as in their other architectural labours,
     the cliff-dwellers have displayed considerable skill.

     One very remarkable circumstance in the Cliff Palace is that
     all the pieces of timber, all the large rafters, have
     disappeared. The holes where they passed into the walls may
     still be seen, but throughout the great block of ruins two or
     three large beams are all that remain. This is the reason why
     none of the rooms is completely closed. At Sprucetree House
     there were a number of rooms where the placing of the door
     stone in position was enough to throw the room into perfect
     darkness, no little aid to the execution of photographic work.
     It is difficult to explain the above state of things. I
     observed the same want of timber in parts of other ruins (at
     Long House for example). In several of the cliff-dwellings it
     appears as if the beams had purposely been removed from the
     walls to be applied to some other use. Seldom, however, have
     all the rafters disappeared, as in the Cliff Palace. There are
     no traces of the ravages of fire. Perhaps the inhabitants were
     forced, during the course of a siege, to use the timber as
     fuel; but in that case it is difficult to understand how a
     proportionate supply of provisions and water was obtained. This
     is one of the numerous circumstances which are probably
     connected with the extinction or migration of the former
     inhabitants, but from which our still scanty information of the
     cliff-dwellers cannot lift the veil of obscurity.

[Illustration: PLATE 6



In addition to his description Nordenskiöld gives a ground plan of Cliff
Palace[12] (pl. XI); a magnificent double page view of the ruin from the
west (pl. XIII); a fine picture of Speaker-chief's House (pl. XII); a
view of the Round Tower (fig. 34); a figure and a plan of an estufa of
singular construction (T); a view of the interior of Kiva C and of a
small room at the back of the main rows of rooms. No specimens of
pottery, stone implements, and kindred antiquities from Cliff Palace are
figured by Nordenskiöld. In various places throughout his work this
author refers to Cliff Palace in a comparative way, and in his
descriptions of other ruins the student will find more or less
pertaining to it.

[Footnote 12: The illustrations referred to in this paragraph are in
Nordenskiöld's work.]

In his book The Cliff Dwellers and Pueblos,[13] Rev. Stephen D. Peet
devotes one chapter (VII) to Cliff Palace and its surroundings,
compiling and quoting from Chapin, Birdsall, and Nordenskiöld. No new
data appear in this work, and the illustrations are copied from these

[Footnote 13: As stated in a note (Peet, p. 133) Chapter VII is a
reprint of Doctor Birdsall's article in the _Journal of the American
Geographical Society_, op. cit.]

Dr. Edgar L. Hewett[14] briefly refers to Cliff Palace as follows (p.

[Footnote 14: In Les Communautés Anciennes dans le Désert Américain. In
this work may be found a ground plan of Cliff Palace by Morley and
Kidder, the interior of kiva Q (pl. VIII, _e_), and a large view of the
ruin taken from the north (pl. I, _b_). (Plate and figure designations
from Hewett.)]

     Il suffira de décrire les traits principaux d'un seul
     groupement de ruines, et nous choisirons Cliff Palace, qui en
     est le spécimen le plus remarquable (pl. I _b_). Il est situé
     dans un bras de Ruin Canyon. La vue présentée ici est prise
     d'un point plus élevé, au sud, d'où l'on contemple les ruines
     d'une ville ancienne, avec des tours rondes et carrées, des
     maisons, des entrepôts pour le grain, des habitations et des
     lieux de culte. Le Cliff Palace remplit une immense caverne
     bien défendue et à l'abri des ravages des éléments. Un sentier
     conduit aux ruines. Le plan (Fig. 2) représente les restes de
     105 chambres au plain-pied. On ne sait combien il y en avait
     dans les 3 étages supérieurs, mais il est probable que
     Cliff-Palace n'abritait pas moins de 500 personnes.

     Nous remarquons à Cliff-Palace de grands progrès dans l'art de
     la construction. Les murs sont faits de grès gris, taillé avec
     des outils de pierre, dont on voit encore les traces. Lorsqu'on
     se servait de pierres irrégulières, les crevasses étaient
     remplies avec des fragments ou des éclats de grès, puis on
     plâtrait les murs avec du mortier d'adobe. On prenait de
     grosses poutres pour les plafonds et les planchers, et l'on
     peut voir que ces poutres étaient dégrossies avec des
     instruments peu tranchants.

Many newspaper and magazine accounts of the Mesa Verde ruins appeared
about the time Mr. Chapin's description was published, but the majority
of these are somewhat distorted and more or less exaggerated, often too
indefinite for scientific purposes. References to them, even if here
quoted, could hardly be of great value to the reader, as in most cases
it would be impossible for him to consult files of papers in which they
occur even if the search were worth while. Much that they record is
practically a compilation from previous descriptions.

The activity in photographing Cliff Palace has done much to make known
its existence and structure. Many excellent photographs of the ruin have
been taken, among which may be mentioned those of Chapin, Nordenskiöld,
Vreeland, Nusbaum, and others. Oil paintings, some of which are copied
from photographs, others made from the ruin itself, adorn the walls of
some of our museums. Almost every visitor to the Mesa Verde carries with
him a camera, and many good postal cards with views of the ruin are on
the market. Negatives of Cliff Palace taken before its excavation and
repair will become more valuable as time passes, because they can no
longer be duplicated. From a study of a considerable number of these
photographs it seems that very little change has taken place in the
condition of the ruin between the time the first pictures were made and
the repair work was begun.


Cliff Palace is situated in a cave in Cliff-palace canyon, a branch of
Cliff canyon, which is here about 200 feet deep. It occupies practically
the whole of the cave, the roof of which overhangs about two-thirds of
the ruin, projecting considerably beyond its middle. This cave is much
more capacious than that in which Spruce-tree House is situated, as
shown by comparing illustrations and descriptions of the latter in the
former report. The configuration of Spruce-tree House cave and that of
Cliff Palace, and the relation of its floor to the talus, also differ.
The canyon in which Cliff Palace lies is thickly wooded, having many
cedars and a few pines and scrub oaks; the almost total failure of water
at certain seasons of the year at Cliff Palace renders floral life in
the vicinity less exuberant than in Spruce-tree canyon, a branch of
Navaho canyon (fig. 1). On the level plateau above the ruin there are
many trees--pines and cedars--but even this area is not so thickly
wooded as the summit of the mesa above Spruce-tree House.[15]

[Footnote 15: Clearings in the forest indicate the positions of the
former farms of the inhabitants of Cliff Palace.]

[Illustration: PLATE 7



The geological formation of the cave in which Cliff Palace is situated
is similar to that at Spruce-tree House, consisting of alternating
layers of hard and soft sandstone, shale, and even layers of coal. Both
canyons and caves appear to have been formed by the same processes. In
past ages the elements have eroded and undermined the soft layers of
sandstone or shale to such an extent that great blocks of rock, being
left without foundations, have broken away from above, falling down the
precipice. Many of these great bowlders remained on the floor of a cave
where it was broad enough to retain them. The surface of the roof
arching over Cliff Palace cave is perhaps smoother than that of
Spruce-tree House. The progress of cave erosion was greatly augmented by
the flow of water from the mesa summit during heavy rains, as
hereinafter described.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--View down Navaho Canyon.]

To understand the general plan of Cliff Palace it is necessary to take
into consideration the method of formation and the configuration of the
cave floor on which the ruin stands. This cave, as already stated, was
formed by erosion or undercutting the softer rock at a lower level than
the massive sandstone, leaving huge blocks of stone above the eroded
cavities. Naturally these blocks, being without support, fell, and in
falling were broken, the larger fragments remaining on the floor
practically in the places where they fell, but many of the smaller
stones were washed out of the cave entrance, forming a talus extending
down the side of the cliff. The floor of the cave was thus strewn with
stones, large and small, resting on the same general level which is that
on which the foundations of the buildings were constructed. The level of
the cave floor was interrupted by the huge blocks of stone forming its
outer margin; and the buildings constructed on these fallen rocks were
lofty, even imposing. The talus composed of fallen rock and débris,
piled against the canyon side in front of these buildings and below
these huge blocks of stone, extends many feet down the cliff in a
gradual slope, covering the terraced buildings and burying their
retaining walls from sight.[16] A great part of this talus is composed
of fallen walls, but considerable earth and small stones are contained
in it, probably precipitated over the rim of the cave roof by the
torrents of water which sometimes fall during heavy rains. It is
probable also that the foresting of the talus has been due more or less
to bushes and small trees washed over the cliff from the mesa summit.

[Footnote 16: Access to Cliff Palace from the bottom of the canyon,
although difficult, is possible, and a pathway might be constructed down
its sides or along the top of the talus to several other
cliff-dwellings. In the vicinity of Cliff Palace there are at least 20
ruins, large and small.]

Three terraces or tiers containing rooms, as shown in the accompanying
ground plan, were revealed by excavations in this talus. At the western
extension, where the second and third terraces cease, the tops of large
rocks begin at the level of the fourth terrace, and on the southern end
the first terrace is absent. At the western extremity, the large blocks
of rock having dropped down entire from the side of the cliff, fill the
interval elsewhere occupied by the lower terraces, and their tops now
form a ledge upon which rest the foundations of rooms level with the
plaza. It is thus evident that whereas the front wall of Spruce-tree
House is simple, the level of the kiva roofs and floors of buildings
above ground being continuous, the front of Cliff Palace is complicated,
being at different levels, consisting of terraces in the talus. As one
approached Cliff Palace, when inhabited, it must have presented, from
below, an imposing structure, the lower terraces being occupied by many
large kivas above which rose lofty buildings arranged in tiers, several
being four stories high. Although the height was much increased by the
presence of huge foundation blocks of sandstone, from the lowest terrace
to the highest room there were seven floor levels, including those of
the kivas in the terraces.

An examination of Cliff Palace cave shows that from the southern end to
the section over the main entrance its roof arches upward and that the
part over the rear of the ruin is lower than that over its front.
Between the lower and upper roof levels there is a sharp break formed by
a vertical cleavage plane. Where this plane joins the upper level there
is a shelf forming a recess in which has been constructed a row of ledge

[Footnote 17: One of these rooms had been chosen by eagles for their
nests, but both nests and eggs were abandoned by the birds after the
repair work was begun.]

The great rock roof arching over Cliff Palace is broken about midway
between the vertical plane above mentioned and the rim by another and
narrower vertical plane where no ledge exists. Here multitudes of
swallows had made their home, and there are wasps' nests in several

[Illustration: PLATE 8




It is evident that the prehistoric farmers of Cliff Palace repeatedly
visited their fields among the cedars on top of the mesa, and well-worn
trails led from their habitation to these clearings. Several such trails
have long been known, one of which was formerly exclusively used by
white visitors and was facetiously called "Fat Man's Misery." To another
ancient pathway, near which ladders were placed, the name "Ladder Trail"
may be applied. The pathways now used by visitors follow approximately
these old trails, which were simply series of shallow footholes cut in
the cliff. Although the lapse of time since they were pecked in the rock
has somewhat diminished their depth, they can still be used by an
adventurous climber.


Cliff Palace (pls. 1, 2), the most instructive cliff-house yet
discovered in the Mesa Verde National Park, if not in the United States,
is one of the most picturesque ruins in the Southwest. While its general
contour follows that of the rear of the cave in which it is situated,
its two extremities project beyond the cavern. The entire central part
is protected by the cave roof; the ends are exposed.

The general orientation of Cliff Palace is north and south, the cave
lying at the eastern end of the canyon of which it is an extension. The
southern end is practically outside this cave, and the few rooms
westward from kiva V are unprotected. An isolated kiva, W, with high
surrounding walls, is situated some distance beyond the extreme western
end of the ruin. Although not in the same cave as the main ruin, certain
other rooms in the vicinity of Cliff Palace may have been ceremonially
connected with it. They are built in shallow depressions in the cliffs
and may have been shrines or rooms to which priests retreated for the
purpose of performing their rites. In the category of dependent
structures may also be mentioned numerous rings of stones on top of the
mesa. The existence of calcined human bones in the soil over which these
stones are heaped indicates the practice of cremation, of which there is
also evidence in the ruin itself.


The constant beating of rain and snow, often accompanied in winter by
freezing of water in the crevices of the masonry, has sadly dilapidated
a large part of the front walls of Cliff Palace, especially those at the
northern and southern ends (pl. 3) where they do not have the protection
of the overhanging roof of the cave.

While the sections known as the old quarter, the plaza quarter, and much
of the tower quarter are protected by the roof of the cave, even here
there has been exposure and destruction from the same cause. Torrential
rains on the mesa in the late summer form streams of water which,
following depressions,[18] flow over the rim of the cave roof and are
precipitated into the trees beyond the lowest terrace of the ruin. The
destruction of walls from these flows is much less than that from
smaller streams which, following the edge of the cave roof, run under
the roof and drip on the walls, washing the mortar from between the
component stones, and eventually undermining their foundation and
leading to their fall. The former presence of these streams is indicated
by the black discoloration of the cave roof shown in photographs.

[Footnote 18: In some of these waterways are found good examples of
"potholes," some of considerable size, which often retain water for a
long time. Their capacity was increased in prehistoric times by the
construction of dams.]

A visitor to Cliff Palace in the dry season can hardly imagine the
amount of rain that occasionally falls during the summer months, and it
is difficult for him to appreciate the destructive force it exerts when
precipitated over the cliff. When Cliff Palace was occupied, damage to
walls could be immediately repaired by the inhabitants after every
torrent, but as the ruin remained for centuries uninhabited and without
repair, the extent of the destruction was great. The torrents falling
over the ruin not only gain force from the distance of the fall, but
sweep everything before them, bringing down earth, stones, small trees,
and bushes. At such a time the bottom of the canyon is filled with a
roaring torrent fed by waterfalls that can be seen at intervals far down
the gorge. The observer standing in Cliff Palace during such a downpour
can behold a sheet of water falling over the projecting cliff in front
of him. These cataracts fortunately are never of long duration, but
while they last their power is irresistible.[19]

[Footnote 19: While there has probably been considerable erosion in the
bed of the canyon since Cliff Palace was constructed, this does not mean
that "the action of the water carved out the valley, leaving at an
inaccessible height buildings originally constructed on almost level
land." See History N. Y. State Chapter, Colorado Cliff Dwellings Assoc.,
p. 11.]


No ruin in the Mesa Verde Park had suffered more from the ravages of
"pot hunters" than Cliff Palace; indeed it had been much more mutilated
than the other ruins in the park (pls. 1, 4, 5). Parties of workmen had
remained at the ruin all winter, and many specimens had been taken from
it and sold. There was good evidence that the workmen had wrenched beams
from the roofs and floors to use for firewood, so that not a single roof
and but few rafters remained in place. However, no doubt many of the
beams had been removed, possibly by cliff-dwellers, long before white
men first visited the place.

[Illustration: PLATE 9



Many of the walls had been broken down and their foundations undermined,
leaving great rents through them to let in light or to allow passage
from the débris thrown in the rooms as dumping places. Hardly a floor
had not been dug into, and some of the finest walls had been
demolished.[20] All this was done to obtain pottery and other minor
antiquities that had a market value. The arrest of this vandalism is
fortunate and shows an awakened public sentiment, but it can not repair
the irreparable harm that has been done.

[Footnote 20: Some, possibly considerable, of this mutilation may be
ascribed to the former occupants. The Ute Indians will not now enter
cliff-dwellings and probably are not responsible for their destruction.]


The masonry work necessary to repair a ruin as large and as much
demolished as Cliff Palace was very considerable. The greatest amount
was expended on those walls in front of the cave floor hidden under the
lower terraces, at the northern and southern extremities. The latter
portion was so completely destroyed that it had to be rebuilt in some
places, while at the southern end an equal amount of repair work was
necessary. (Pls. 3, 6, 7, 9.) To permanently protect these sections of
the ruin the tops of the walls and the plazas were liberally covered
with Portland cement, and runways were constructed to carry off the
surface water into gutters by which it was diverted over the retaining
walls to fall on the rock foundations beyond. It would be impossible
permanently to protect some of these exposed walls without constructing
roofs above them; at present every heavy rain is bound to cover the
floors of the kivas with water and thus eventually to undermine their

The preservation of walls deep in the cave under protection of the roof
was not a difficult problem. The work in this part consisted chiefly in
the repair of kiva walls, building them to their former height at the
level of neighboring plazas.


Under this term are embraced those immovable objects as walls of houses
and their various structural parts--floors, roofs, and fireplaces. These
features must of necessity be protected in place and left where they
were constructed. Minor antiquities, as implements of various kinds,
stone objects, pottery, textiles, and the like, can best be removed and
preserved in a museum, where they can be seen to greater advantage and
by a much larger number of people. The ideal way would be to preserve
both major and minor antiquities together in the same neighborhood, or
to install the latter in the places in which they were found. While at
present such an arrangement at Spruce-tree House and Cliff Palace is not
practicable, large specimens, as metates and those jars that are
embedded in the walls, have, as a rule, been left as they were found.

As the repair work at Cliff Palace was limited to the protection of the
major antiquities, the smaller objects for the greater part having been
removed before our work began, this report deals more especially with
the former, the whole ruin being regarded as a great specimen to be
preserved in situ.

Very little attention was given to labeling rooms, kivas, and their
different parts, the feeling being that this experiment has been
sufficiently well carried out at Spruce-tree House, an examination of
which would logically precede that of Cliff Palace. Spruce-tree House
has been made a "type ruin" from which the tourist can gain his first
impression of the major antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park, and
while it was well to indicate on its walls the different features
characteristic of these buildings, it would be redundant to carry out
the same plan in the other ruins.[21]

[Footnote 21: The author's hope is to excavate and repair in different
sections of the Southwest a number of "type ruins," each of which will
illustrate the major antiquities of the area in which it occurs. From an
examination of these types the tourist and the student may obtain, at
first hand, an accurate knowledge of the prehistoric architecture.]

No attempt was made to restore the roof of any of the Cliff Palace kivas
for the reason that one can gain a good idea of how the roof of a
circular kiva is constructed from its restoration in Kiva C of
Spruce-tree House, and an effort to roof a kiva of Cliff Palace would
merely duplicate what has already been accomplished without adding
essentially to our knowledge.


The ground plans of Cliff Palace which have been published were made
from surface indications before excavations were undertaken and
necessarily do not represent all the rooms. Nordenskiöld's map outlines
17 kivas and 102 rooms, indicating several kivas by dotted lines. The
Morley-Kidder map, which represents positions of 18 or 19 kivas, notes
105 secular rooms.[22] Although this ground plan is an improvement on
that of Nordenskiöld, it also was based on surface indications and
naturally fails to indicate those kivas that were buried under the
fallen walls of the terraces. Strangely enough, in Nordenskiöld's ground
plan Kiva K is omitted, notwithstanding the tops of one or two pilasters
were readily seen before any excavation was made. Neither of these plans
distinguishes those buildings that have more than a single story,
although they show the parts of walls that extend to the roof. Neither
Chapin nor Birdsall published maps of Cliff Palace. (See pl. 8.)

[Footnote 22: In "Report, House of Representatives, No. 3703, 58th
Congress," Mr. Coert Dubois ascribes to Cliff House (Cliff Palace) 146
rooms and 5 estufas (kivas). Unfortunately the error in the count of
kivas has been given wide circulation. As stated in the present article,
there are at least 23 rooms in Cliff Palace that may be called kivas.]

[Illustration: PLATE 10




The terraces in front of the rooms occupying the floor of the cave are
characteristic features of Cliff Palace (pls. 9, 10). The excavations
revealed three of these terraces, of which the floor of the cave is the
fourth. This fourth terrace, or cave floor, is in the main horizontal,
but on account of the accumulated talus the slope from the southern end
of the portion in front of kiva G was gradual and continued at about
this level to the northern end of the ruin. This slope brought it about
that kivas in the terraces are at different levels. The floors of kivas
H and I lie on about the level of the first terrace, that of G on the
terrace above, and F lies on the third terrace; the remaining kivas are
all excavated in the cave floor, or fourth terrace. From the main
entrance to the ruin, extending northward, there are representations of
the second and third terraces, both of which extend to the cliff in
front of kiva U. It is probable from the general appearance of the ruin
that when all the terraces and walls were intact Cliff Palace was also
terraced with houses along the front, which recalls architectural
features in certain cliff-dwellings in Canyon de Chelly.


For convenience of description Cliff Palace is arbitrarily divided into
four quarters, known as tower quarter, plaza quarter, old quarter, and
northern quarter. The tower quarter (pls. 10-14) occupies the whole
southern portion of the ruin and extends to the extreme southern end
from a line drawn perpendicular to the cliff through the round tower. It
includes 8 kivas, A to G, and J, 6 of which, A, B, C, D, E, and J, are
situated on the fourth terrace, the level of the kiva floor being that
of the third terrace. Kiva F lies in the third, and G in the second
terrace. It will be seen from an inspection of the ground plan that
there are in all 29 rooms in this quarter, besides the 8 kivas, an
instructive fact when compared with Spruce-tree House with its 8 kivas
and 114 rooms. It must be remembered that several of the rooms in this
quarter are of two stories, one is of three stories, and one of four
stories, thus adding from 15 to 20 rooms to the 8 enumerated as
occupying the ground floor. The proportion of ceremonial rooms to kivas
in this quarter would be a little more than 2 to 1.


The plaza quarter, as its name indicates, is a large open space, the
floor of which is formed mainly by the contiguous roofs of the several
kivas (K to O) that are sunk below it. The main entrance to the village
opens into this plaza at its northwestern corner, and on the northern
side it is continued into a court which connects with the main street or
alley of the cliff village. From its position, relations, and other
considerations, it is supposed that this quarter was an important
section of Cliff Palace and that here were held some of the large
open-air gatherings of the inhabitants of the place; here also no doubt
were celebrated the sacred dances which we have every reason to believe
were at times performed by the former inhabitants. The roof levels of
kivas H and I did not contribute to the size of the main plaza, but show
good evidence of later construction. Judging from the number of
fireplaces in this quarter there is reason to believe that much cooking
was done in this open space, in addition to its use for ceremonial or
other gatherings of the inhabitants.


The section of Cliff Palace that has been designated the old quarter
(pls. 14, 15) lies between a line drawn from the main entrance of the
ruin to the rear of the cave and the extreme northern end, culminating
in a high castle-like cluster of rooms. It may well be called one of the
most important sections of Cliff Palace, containing, as it does, the
largest number of rooms, the most varied architecture, and the best
masonry. Its protected situation under the roof of the cave is such that
we may consider it and the adjoining plaza quarter the earliest settled
sections of the village. It contains all varieties of inclosures known
in cliff-dwellings: kivas of two types, round rooms, rectangular rooms,
an alley or a street, and a court. The floor of the cave on which the
rooms are built is broadest at this point, which is one of the best
protected sites and the least accessible to enemies in the whole
building. It may be theoretically supposed that originally the kiva
quarter was an annex of this section and that some of the kivas in this
quarter may also have been owned and used by the clans which founded
Cliff Palace. The old quarter is divided into two parts, a northern and
a southern, the former being arbitrarily designated the Speaker-chief's
House. The "street" running approximately north and south bisects the
old quarter, making a front and a rear section.


This quarter (pl. 16) of Cliff Palace extends from the high rocks on
which the Speaker-chief's House is perched, in a westerly direction,
ending with a milling room and adjacent inclosures 92 to 94, situated
west of kiva V. It includes three kivas; two, U and V, being situated on
the fourth terrace; and one, T, on the first terrace. Kivas U and V are
built on top of large rocks, the floor of kiva V being excavated in
solid rock. Much of this quarter, especially the western end, is under
the sky, and consequently without the protection of the cave roof, on
which account it was considerably destroyed by rain water flowing over
the canyon rim. The walls of this quarter, especially where it joins the
old quarter, exhibit fine masonry, suggesting that it was inhabited by
important clans.

[Illustration: PLATE 11




The walls of Cliff Palace present the finest masonry known to any
cliff-dwelling and among the best stonework in prehistoric ruins north
of Mexico. A majority of the stones used in the construction were well
dressed before laying and smoothed after they were set in the wall. The
joints are often broken, but it is rare to find intersecting walls or
corners bonded. Stones of approximately the same size are employed,
thereby making the courses, as a rule, level. Although commonly the
foundations are composed of the largest stones, this is not an
invariable rule, often larger stones being laid above smaller ones; the
latter, even when used for foundations, are sometimes set on edge. As a
rule, the walls are not plumb or straight. The custom of laying stone
foundations on wooden beams is shown in several instances, especially in
cases where it was necessary to bridge the intervals between projecting
rocks. The arch was unknown to the masons of Cliff Palace; there are no
pillars to support floors or roofs as in Spruce-tree House. It is not
rare, especially in the kivas, to find instances of double or reenforced
walls which may or may not be bonded by connecting stones.

The masonry of the kivas as a rule is superior to that of the secular
rooms. The mortar employed in the construction is hard; the joints are
chinked with spalls, fragments of pottery, or clay balls. The fact that
much more mortar than was necessary was employed resulted in weakening
the walls. Several walls were laid without mortar; in some of these the
joints were pointed, in others not.[23] The ancient builders did not
always seek solid bases for foundations, but built their walls in
several instances on ashes or sand, evidently not knowing when the
foundations were laid that other stories would later be constructed upon

[Footnote 23: Fragments of mortar from the walls and floors, ground to
powder, were used in the repair work.]

In several sections of the ruin there are evidences that old walls,
apparently of houses formerly used, served in part as walls for new
buildings. There are also several instances of secondary construction in
which old entrances are walled up or even buried and old passageways
covered with new structures. Similar reconstruction is common in Hopi
pueblos, where it has led to enlargement of rooms and other variations
in form. Among the several examples of such secondary building in Cliff
Palace may be mentioned a long wall, evidently the front of a large
building, which serves as a rear wall of several rooms arranged side by
side. The obvious explanation of such a condition is that the walls of
the small rooms are of later construction.

As above mentioned the foundations of many walls are of larger stones,
and the masonry here is coarser than higher up, which has led some
authors to ascribe this fact as due to two epochs of construction. But
this conclusion does not appear to be wholly justifiable, although there
is evidence in many places that there has been rebuilding over old walls
and consequent modification in new constructions, by which older walls
have ceased to be necessary, a condition not unlike that existing in
several of the Hopi pueblos. In this category may be included the
several doors and windows that have been filled in with new masonry or
even concealed by new walls. From the fragile character of certain
foundations of high walls it would appear that it was not the intention,
when they were laid, to erect on them walls more than one story high;
the construction of higher stories upon them was an afterthought.
Evidences occur of repair of breaks in the walls and corners by the
aboriginal occupants, one of the most apparent of which appears at the
end of the court in the southern wall of room 59.


The walls, as a rule, were made of stone; indeed it is unusual to find
adobe walls in cliff-dwellings of the Mesa Verde. In prehistoric
buildings in our Southwest, evidences that the ancients made adobe
bricks, sun-dried before laying, are very rare. Bricks made of clay are
set in the walls of the Speaker-chief's House and were found in the
fallen débris at its base. These bricks were made cubical in form before
laying, but there is nothing to prove that they were molded in forms or
frames, nor do they have a core of straw as in the case of the adobes
used in the construction of Inscription House in the Navaho National
Monument, Arizona.[24] The use of adobes in the construction of
cliff-house walls has not been previously mentioned, although we find
references to "lumps of clay" in the earliest historic times among
Pueblos. Thus the inhabitants of Tiguex, according to Castañeda, were
acquainted with adobes. "They collect," says this author, "great heaps
of thyme and rushes and set them on fire; when the mass is reduced to
ashes and charcoal they cast a great quantity of earth and water upon it
and mix the whole together. They knead this stuff into round lumps,
which they learn to dry and use instead of stone."

[Footnote 24: See _Bulletin 50, Bureau of American Ethnology_.]

[Illustration: PLATE 12



Attention may be called to the fact that not only the adobes found at
Cliff Palace but also the mortar used in the construction of the walls
contain ashes and sometimes even small fragments of charcoal. Clay or
adobe plastered on osiers woven between upright sticks, so common in the
walls of cliff-dwellings in Canyon de Chelly and in the ruins in the
Navaho Monument, while not unknown in the Mesa Verde, is an exceptional
method of construction and was not observed at Cliff Palace. The
survival[25] of this method of building a wall, if survival it be, may
be seen in the deflector of kiva K.

[Footnote 25: In at least one of the Oraibi kivas the plastering of the
wall is laid on sticks that form a kind of lathing. Whether this is a
survival of an older method of construction or is traceable to European
influence has not been determined, but it is believed to be a survival
of prehistoric wall construction.]


The walls of a number of rooms were coated with a layer of plastering of
sand or clay. This was found on the outside of some walls, where it is
generally worn, but it is best preserved on the interior surfaces.
Perhaps the most striking examples of plastering on exterior walls
occurs on the Speaker-chief's House, where the smoothness of the finish
is noteworthy.

From impressions of hands and fingers on this plastering it is evident
that it was laid on not with trowels but with the hands, and as the
impressions of hands are small the plasterers were probably women or
children. In several instances where the plastering is broken several
successive layers are seen, often in different colors, sometimes
separated by a thin black layer deposited by smoke. The color of the
plastering varies considerably, sometimes showing red, often yellow or
white, depending on the different colored sand or mud employed.[26] The
plastering not only varies in color but also in thickness and in finish.
In the most protected rooms of the cave practically all the superficial
plastering still remains on both the interior and the exterior of the
walls, but for the greater part it has been washed from the surfaces and
out of the joints in the outer buildings. The mortar was evidently
rubbed smooth with the hands, aided, perhaps, with flat stones. The
exterior of one or two rooms shows several coats of plaster, and
different parts of the same walls are of different colors. Indistinct
figures are scratched on several walls, but the majority of these are
too obscure to be traced or deciphered. The plastering on the exterior
and the interior of the same wall is often of different color.

[Footnote 26: The red color is derived from the red soil common
everywhere on the mesa. Yellow was obtained from disintegrated rock, and
white is a marl which is found at various places. The mortar used by the
ancient masons became harder, almost cement, when made of marl mixed
with adobe.]


Figures are painted on the white plastering of the third story of room
11 and on the lower border of the banquette of kiva I, the former being
the most elaborate mural paintings known in cliff-dwellings, showing
several symbols which are reproduced on pottery. A reversed symbolic
rain-cloud figure, painted white, occurs on the exterior of the low
ledge house.[27] Mural paintings of unusual form are found on the under
side of the projecting rock forming part of the floor of room 3, and
there are scratches on the plastering of the wall of kiva K. The latter
figures were intended to represent animals, heads of grotesque beings,
possibly birds, and terraced designs symbolic of rain clouds. As one or
more of these symbols occur on pottery fragments, there appears no doubt
that both were made by the same people. Among rock markings may also be
mentioned shallow, concave grooves made by rubbing harder stones, which
can be seen on the cliffs in front of rooms 92 and 93 and in the court
west of room 51.

[Footnote 27: This figure resembles closely that on the outside walls of
the third story of room 11 of Spruce-tree House. (See pls. 4, 5, 6,
_Bulletin 41, Bureau of American Ethnology_.)]

Among the figures painted on whitewashed walls of room 11 may be
mentioned triangles, parallel red lines with dots, and a square figure,
in red, crossed by zigzags, recalling the designs on old Navaho

The parallel lines are placed vertically and are not unlike, save in
color, those which the Hopi make with prayer meal on the walls of their
kivas, in certain ceremonies. But it is to be noted that the Hopi
markings are made horizontally instead of vertically, as at Cliff
Palace. The dots represented on the sides of some of these parallel
lines (room 11) are similar to those appearing on straight lines or
triangles in the decoration of Mesa Verde pottery. The triangular
figures still used by the Hopi in decorating the margins of dados in
their houses also occur on some of the Cliff-Palace walls, but are
placed in a reversed position. They are said to represent a butterfly, a
rain cloud, or a sex symbol. It is interesting to note in passing that
two or more triangles placed one above another appear constantly in the
same position in Moorish tile and stucco decorations, but this, of
course, is only a coincidence, as there is no evidence of a cultural

[Illustration: PLATE 13


_a_ Third story of square tower, showing dado and decoration

_b_ Deflector and flue of kiva



Almost every Mesa Verde cliff-dwelling has an unoccupied space back of
the rooms,[28] as in the rear of rooms 28 to 40, which served as a
depository for all kinds of rubbish. Here the inhabitants of Cliff
Palace also deposited certain of their dead, which became mummified on
account of the dryness of the air in the cave.

[Footnote 28: Isolated cliff-dwellings are scattered throughout the
Southwest, but there are several areas, as the Mesa Verde, in which they
are concentrated. Among these clusters may be mentioned the Canyon de
Chelly, the Navaho National Monument, the Red Rocks area, and that of
the upper Gila. One characteristic feature in which the cliff-dwellings
of the Mesa Verde differ from some others is the independence of all of
the upright walls from support of the sides of the cliffs. In the
cliff-houses of the Navaho Monument a large majority of the houses have
the rear wall of the cave as a wall of the building; a few of the houses
in Cliff Palace have the same, but the largest number are entirely free
from the cliff. This separation on all sides is due largely to the
geological structure of the rear of the cavern in which the cliff-house

There is also a vacant space between the rear of the Speaker-chief's
House and the cave wall, but this space was almost entirely free of
refuse. The amount of débris in the refuse heaps back of the so-called
plaza quarter lends weight to other evidence that this is one of the
oldest sections of Cliff Palace.

The accumulation of débris was so deep in these places, and the
difficulties of removal so great, that it was not attempted. It had all
been dug over by relic seekers who are said to have found many specimens

[Footnote 29: Workmen could operate in these parts only by tying sponges
over their nostrils, so difficult was it to breathe on account of the
fine dust.]


The majority of the rooms in Cliff Palace were devoted to secular
purposes. These are of several types, and differ in form, in position,
and in function. Their form is either circular or rectangular, or some
modification of these two. As a rule, the secular rooms lie deep under
the cliffs, several extending as far back as the rear of the cave. The
front of Cliff Palace shows at least two tiers or terraces of secular
rooms, the roof of the lower one being level with that of the floor of
the tier above. The front walls of secular rooms lower than the fourth
terrace are as a rule destroyed, but the lateral walls are evident,
especially in the tower quarter. The passage from one of these terraces
to the room above was made by means of ladders or by stone steps along
the corners.

The following classification of secular rooms, based on their function,
may be noted: (1) Living rooms; (2) milling rooms; (3) storage rooms;
(4) rooms of unknown function;[30] (5) towers; (6) round rooms. It is
difficult to distinguish in some instances to which of the above classes
some of the rooms belong. The secular houses were probably owned by the
oldest women of the clan, and the kivas were the property of the men of
their respective clans, but courts, plazas, and passageways were common

[Footnote 30: Possibly some of these may have been used sometimes for
ceremonial purposes, or rather for the less important rites.]

The masonry[31] of all secular rooms is practically identical and as a
rule is inferior to that of kivas, their walls varying in width and
having a uniform thickness from foundation to top. There are instances
where the lower part projects somewhat beyond the upper, from which it
is separated by a ledge, but this feature is not common. Minor features
of architecture, as floors and roofs, doors and windows, fireplaces,
banks, and cubby-holes, some or all of which may be absent, vary in form
and in distribution according to the purpose for which the room was
intended. The few timbers that remain show that the beams of the houses
were probably cut with stone hatchets aided by the use of fire. The
labor of hauling these timbers and of stripping them of their branches
must have been great, considering the rude appliances at hand. It would
seem that the cliff-dwellers were not ignorant of the use of the wedge
with which to split logs, since the surfaces of split sticks are always
more or less fibrous, never smooth, as would be expected if metal
implements had been used. All transportation was manual, without the
assistance of beasts of burden or of any but the rudest mechanical

[Footnote 31: Probably both men and women of one clan worked together in
the construction of houses, the men being the masons, the women the
plasterers. Each clan built its own rooms, and there were no
differentiated groups of mechanics in the community.]


There is difficulty in distinguishing doorways from windows in
cliff-dwellings, on which account they are here treated together. Both
are simple openings in the walls, the former as a rule being larger than
the latter. As door openings are regularly situated high above the
floor, there may have been ladders by which the doorways of the second
and third stories were reached. The rooms may have been entered by means
of balconies, evidences of which still remain. No instance of a hatchway
in the roof is now recognizable, although the absence of side entrances
in several rooms implies that there were roof entrances, several good
examples of which occur at Spruce-tree House.

Doorways of Cliff Palace have two forms, rectangular and T-shaped, the
latter generally opening on the second story or in such a position that
they were approached by ladders or notched logs. The theory that these
doorways were constructed larger at the top than at the bottom so that
persons with packs on their backs might pass through them more readily
is not wholly satisfactory, nor does the theory that the notch at the
lower rim served to keep the ladder from slipping wholly commend itself.
No satisfactory explanation of the form of the T-shaped doorway has been
yet determined. Generally the tops of both doorways and windows are
narrower than the bottoms, the sides being slightly inclined; but the
lower part is rarely narrower than the top. Sills sometimes project
slightly, and evidences occur that the sides as well as the upper part
of the window and doorway were made of adobe, now no longer in place.
The jambs also were probably of clay, and the doors, made of slabs of
stone, neatly fitted the orifices.

[Illustration: PLATE 14




The prevailing storms in winter at Cliff Palace sweep up the canyon from
the southwest, but there does not seem to have been a systematic effort
to avoid the cold by placing doors and windows on the opposite side of
the building; the openings, for instance, of the Speaker-chief's House
face this direction and are open to storms of snow and rain. Many of the
openings never had doors and windows, but were probably closed with
sticks tied together, or with matting[32]. Certain windows were half
closed, probably to temper the winter blasts. The sills of doors were
commonly placed a foot or more above the floor[33]; transoms above the
door opening and peepholes at the side are not common in Cliff Palace.
In some cases a stepping-stone projects from the wall below the door
opening to facilitate entrance; in others a foot hole is found in the
same relative place.

[Footnote 32: Some of the doorways were filled with rude masonry;
evidently the rooms were thus closed in some instances before the
buildings were deserted.]

[Footnote 33: The placing of the sill at a level with the floor is a
modern innovation at Walpi. The oldest houses still have it elevated, as
in Cliff Palace. In some of the cliff-houses of the Navaho Monument
sills and floor levels are continuous.]

As the jambs, sills, and lintels were built hard and fast in the mortar,
evidently both door openings and windows were constructed when the
corresponding wall was built. The jambs in some instances and the
lintels in others are of split sticks, the surfaces of which are fibrous
and were evidently not split by means of iron implements. There is
evidence that the size of the door openings was sometimes reduced by a
ridge of mortar which was arched above, as at Spruce-tree House, the
intention being to make in this way a jamb to hold in place the stone
door. There are no round windows of large size, but both doors and
windows are quadrilateral in shape; the small circular openings in some
of the walls may have served for lookouts.


Not a single entire roof remained in Cliff Palace, and only one or two
rooms retained remnants of rafters. It would seem, however, from the
position of the holes in the walls into which the rafters once extended
that they were constructed like those of Spruce-tree House, a good
example of which is shown in plate 9 of the report on that ruin. The
floors seem to have been formed of clay hardened by tramping, but there
is no evidence of paving with flat stones. The hardened adobe is
sometimes laid on sticks without bark and stamped down. Although no
instance of extensive rock cutting of the floor was observed in secular
rooms, this is a common feature of kiva floors. Floors were generally
level, but in some instances, when rock was encountered, the surface was
raised in part above the other level. The majority of the floors had
been dug into for buried specimens before the repair work was begun, but
here and there fragments of floors were still intact, showing their
former level. Banquettes or ledges around the walls are rare. In a few
instances the unplastered roof of the cave served as the roof of the
highest rooms.


Many fireplaces still remain in rooms, but the majority are found in
convenient corners of the plazas[34]. The most common situation is in an
angle formed by two walls; in which case the fire-pit is generally
rimmed with a slightly elevated rounded ridge of adobe. In room 84 there
is a fireplace in the middle of the floor. At one side of this
depression there extends a supplementary groove in the floor, rimmed
with stone, the use of which is not known. Although fireplaces are
ordinarily half round, a square one occurs in the northwestern corner of
room 81. All the fireplaces contained wood ashes, sometimes packed hard;
but no cinders, large fragments of charcoal, or coal ashes were evident.
The sides of the walls above the fireplaces are generally blackened with

[Footnote 34: Smoke on the walls of certain second and third stories
shows that fireplaces were not restricted to the ground floor.]

The fire-holes of the kivas, being specially constructed, are different
in shape from those in secular houses. While the cooking fire-pits are
generally shallow, kiva fire-holes a foot deep are not exceptional, and
several are much deeper. The fire was kindled in the kiva not so much
for heating the room, as for lighting it, there being no windows for
that purpose. Certain kinds of fuel were probably prescribed, but logs
were not burned in kivas on account of the heat. No evidences of
smoke-hoods or chimneys have been found in any of the Cliff Palace
rooms. The walls of many kivas showed blackening by soot or smoke.


It is difficult to distinguish rooms in which the inhabitants lived from
others used by them for storage and other purposes, since most of their
work, as cooking, pottery making, and like domestic operations, was
conducted either on the house-tops or in the plazas. Under living rooms
are included the women's rooms[35], or those in which centered the
family life; and, in a general way, we may suppose the large rooms and
those with banquettes were sleeping rooms. The popular misconception
that the cliff-dwellers were of small stature has undoubtedly arisen
from the diminutive size of all the secular rooms, but it must be
remembered that the life of the cliff-dwellers was really an out-of-door
one, the roof of the cave affording the necessary protection.

[Footnote 35: Among the Hopi the oldest woman, as a clan representative,
owns the living rooms, but kivas are the property of the men, the kiva
chief of certain fraternities being the direct descendant of the clan
chief of the ceremony when limited to his clan.]

[Illustration: PLATE 15




There are several rooms in Cliff Palace which appear to have been given
up solely to the operation of grinding corn. The mills are box-like
structures, constructed of slabs of stone set on edge, each containing a
slanting stone called a metate, from which the mill is called by the
Hopi the _metataki_, or "metate house." The following description of a
metataki in pueblos seen by Castañeda in 1540 applies, in a general way,
to the small milling troughs in Cliff Palace:

     One room is appointed for culinary purposes, another for the
     grinding of corn; the latter is isolated [not so in Cliff
     Palace] and contains an oven and three stones [one, two, three,
     or four in Cliff Palace], cemented finely together. Three women
     sit [kneel] before these stones; the first crushes the corn,
     the second grinds it, and the third reduces it quite to a

In grinding corn, which was generally the work of the girls or young
women, the grinder knelt before the metataki and used a flat stone,
which was rubbed back and forth on the metate. The corn meal thus ground
fell into a squarish depression, made of smooth stones, at the lower end
of the metate. Commonly the corners of this receptacle for the meal that
had been ground were filled in with clay, and on each side of the metate
were inserted fragments of pottery, which rounded the corners and made
it easier to brush the meal into a heap. In room 92, where there are
four metates, occupying almost the whole milling room, there are upright
stones on the side of the wall, back of the place where the women knelt,
against which they braced their feet.

Most of the grinding boxes were destroyed, but those in the
Speaker-chief's house and others west of kiva V, especially the latter,
were still in good condition, the metates being in place. Evidences of
former metatakis were apparent in the floor of several other rooms, as
in a room back of kiva K. It is evident from the number of metates found
in Cliff Palace that several milling rooms, not now recognizable,
formerly existed, and it is probable that every large clan had its own
milling room, with, one or more metatakis, according to necessity.
Although, many metates without metatakis occur in Cliff Palace, that in
itself is not evidence that they were moved from place to place by the
inhabitants. These milling rooms were apparently roofed, low, and
one-storied, possibly in some instances open on top, but generally had a
small peephole or window for the entrance of light or for permitting the
grinders to see passers-by.


Under the general name of granaries are included storage rooms, some of
which are situated below living rooms.[36] Here corn for consumption was
stacked, and if we may follow Hopi customs in our interpretation of
cliff-dwellers' habits, the people of Cliff Palace no doubt had a supply
sufficient to prevent famine by tiding over a failure of crops for two
or more years. Many of these chambers were without doorways or windows;
they were not limited to storage of corn, but served for the
preservation of any food products or valuable cult paraphernalia. Each
clan no doubt observed more or less secrecy in the amount of corn it
kept for future use, and on that account the storage rooms were
ordinarily, hidden from view.

[Footnote 36: Genetically the room for storage of property was of
earliest construction. This custom, which was necessary among
agriculturists whose food supply was bulky, may have led to the choice
of caves, natural or artificial, for habitation.]

The droppings of chipmunks and other rodents show that these commensals
were numerous, and their presence made necessary the building of storage
rooms in such manner that they would be proof against the ravages of
such animals. The three cists constructed of stone slabs placed
vertically, situated back of the Speaker-chief's House, sometimes called
"eagle houses," were probably storage bins; in support of this
hypothesis may be mentioned the fact that the cobs, tassels, and leaves
of corn are said to have been abundant in them when Cliff Palace was
first visited by white men.

Although eagle bones are found in the refuse in the unoccupied part of
the cave back of the houses, their abundance does not necessarily prove
that eagles were confined in them by the inhabitants of Cliff Palace.
Perhaps the eagle nests in the canyon were owned by different clans and
were visited yearly or whenever feathers were needed, and the dead
eagles were probably buried ceremonially in these places, which
therefore may be called eagle cemeteries, as among the Hopi.[37]

[Footnote 37: See Property Rights in Eagles, _American Anthropologist_,
vol. II, pp. 690-707, 1907.]


As is well known to students of the Southwest, the tribes of Indians
dwelling along the lower Colorado river disposed of their dead by
cremation, and evidences of burning the dead are found among all the
ruins along the Gila and Salt rivers in southern Arizona. The custom was
also practiced in the San Pedro and Salt River valleys, and along other
tributaries of the Gila river. Castañeda (1540) says that the
inhabitants of Cibola, identified with Zuñi, burned their dead, but no
indication of this practice is now found among existing Pueblos. The
ancient Pueblo inhabitants of the Little Colorado, so far as known, did
not burn their dead, and no record has been made of the practice among
their descendants, the Hopi and Zuñi.

[Illustration: PLATE 16


In his excellent work on the ruins of the Mesa Verde, Baron Nordenskiöld
speaks of calcined human bones being found in a stone cist at Step
House, and Mr. Wetherill is referred to as having observed evidence of
cremation elsewhere among the Mesa Verde cliff-dwellings. There can be
no doubt from the observations made in the refuse heaps at Cliff Palace
that the inhabitants of this village not only burned their dead but
there was a special room in the depths of the cave which was set aside
for that purpose.[38] One of these rooms, situated at the northern end
of the refuse heap, was excavated in the progress of the work and found
to contain bushels of very fine phosphate ashes, mixed with fragments of
bones, some of which are well enough preserved to enable their
identification as human. Accompanying these calcined bones were various
mortuary objects not unlike those occurring in graves where the dead
were not cremated. The existence of great quantities of ashes, largely
containing phosphates, apparently derived from the burned bones, forming
much of the refuse, and the densely smoke-blackened roof of the cave
above them, are interpreted to indicate that the dead were cremated in
the cave back of the houses.

[Footnote 38: While only one place where bodies were burned was found in
Cliff Palace, several such places were found on top of the mesa.
Evidences of similar inclosures occur at Spruce-tree House and at Step

In addition to these burning places, or crematories, in the rear of the
buildings of Cliff Palace, there is good evidence of the same practice
on the mesa top. Here and there, especially in the neighborhood of the
clearings where the cliff-dwellers formerly had their farms, are round
stone inclosures, oftentimes several feet deep, in which occur great
quantities of bone ashes, fragments of pottery, and some stone objects.
The surface of the stones composing these inclosures shows the marks of
intense fire, which, taken in connection with the existence of fragments
of human bones more or less burned, indicate that the dead were cremated
in these inclosures. It is not clear, however, that the dead were not
interred before cremation, and there is reason for believing that the
bodies were dried before they were committed to the flames. The mortuary
offerings, especially pottery, seem to have been placed in the burning
places after the heat had subsided, for beautiful jars showing no action
of fire were found in some of these inclosures. The existence of
cremation among the cliff-dwellers is offered as an explanation of the
great scarcity of skeletons in their neighborhood. When it is remembered
that Cliff Palace must have had a population of several hundred, judging
from the number of the buildings, and was inhabited for several
generations, it otherwise would be strange that so few skeletons were
found. It would appear that the chiefs or the priestly class were buried
either in the ground or in the floors of the rooms, which were afterward
sealed, whereas the bodies of the poorer class, or the people generally,
were cremated. The former existence of Pueblo peoples who buried their
dead in the region between the Gila valley and Mesa Verde where the dead
were cremated is a significant fact, but further observations are
necessary before it can be interpreted. It may be that in ancient times
all the sedentary tribes practiced cremation, and that the region in
question was settled after this custom had been abandoned.


In a shallow crevice in the roof of the cave on a higher level than the
roofs of the tallest houses there is a long wall, the front of
inclosures that may be called "ledge rooms."[39] Some of these rooms
have plastered walls, others are roughly laid; the latter form one side
of a court and served to shield those passing from one room to another.
On this outer wall, about midway, there is painted in white an inverted
terrace figure, which may represent a rain cloud. Attention should be
called to the resemblance in form and position of this figure to that on
an outside wall overlooking plaza C of Spruce-tree House. This series of
ledge rooms was probably entered from the roof of a building in front,
and the opening or doorway above room 66 served as such an entrance,
according to several stockmen who visited Cliff Palace in earlier days.

[Footnote 39: This type of building is believed to be the oldest in
those sections of the Southwest where cliff habitations occur.]



The rooms in Cliff Palace, now numbered from 1 to 94, include all those
on the ground floor, but do not embrace the second, third, and fourth
stories nor the elevated ledge rooms secluded in the crevices of the
cave roof at a high level. Their classification by function already
having been considered, a brief enumeration by form and other characters
will be given.

[Illustration: PLATE 17


_a_ Tunnel to Kiva B

_b_ Passageway with steps to room 3


Room 1, situated at the extreme southern end, presents no striking
features except that one of its entrances is by stairs through the floor
from kiva A. Its western and northern walls are of masonry; the
remaining sides are formed by the vertical cliff.

The walls of room 2 are constructed of masonry on the northern, western,
and southern sides; the eastern side is the cliff face. As the floor of
this room is made of hardened clay laid on small sticks, it was at first
supposed that a human burial was concealed beneath, but excavation
showed no signs of an interment.

Room 3 (pl. 17) is a square inclosure between walls of other rooms. A
portion of its floor is level with that of rooms 1 and 2, but a
projecting rock forms an elevated bench on the eastern side. On the
underside of this rock there are pictographs, apparently aboriginal, one
of which has a well-known terrace form, recalling the outlines of a
T-shaped doorway and the white figures on the outer wall of the ledge
room above mentioned.

Room 4 is three stories high, without openings into adjoining rooms or
exterior entrances. Its western corner is rounded below and angular

Room 5 was apparently two stories high, with a fireplace in its
southeastern corner. The foundation rests on a large rock. The
arrangement of post holes in the south and west walls of this dwelling
is exceptional, and their purpose enigmatical. There is a passage from
room 5 to the neighboring plaza, which is occupied by kiva D.

Room 6 is a small rectangular chamber, about 2 feet square and 7 feet
high; it has an entrance on the western side into room 7, and, as it
utilizes the walls of the adjacent rooms, it was doubtless built
subsequent to them. Evidences of rebuilding or secondary construction of
walls on old foundations are so numerous in this section of the ruin
that this may be the oldest part of Cliff Palace.

Rooms 7, 8, and 9 are outside rooms, the western walls of which are more
or less broken, while the front is entirely destroyed. It appears that
their connected roofs once formed a terrace overlooking kiva D on the
west. There are doorways in walls of one of these rooms, but entrance
may have been gained by means of hatchways. It was approached from plaza
B by the aid of ladders or stone steps.

Room 11, which may be called the square tower, is the only four-story
building standing in Cliff Palace, its walls reaching from the floor to
the roof of the cave. When work began on this building the whole
northwestern angle had fallen, and the remaining walls were tottering.
To prevent total destruction, the entire corner was built up from a
foundation laid on the floor level of the neighboring kiva. A small
entrance to the ground floor, or the lowest of the four rooms, is from
a banquette (10) on the western side, where there is a passageway from
this lower story of room 11 to room 12, situated in its rear. Room 12
has a good floor, and room 11 a fireplace in the southwestern corner of
the lowest room of the square tower. Almost all the beams of the higher
rooms of this tower had been taken out, leaving nothing but the holes in
the walls to indicate the former existence of floors. The beams now
connecting the walls were placed there by our workmen to serve as
staging and for tying the sides together. The second and third stories
of the square tower are also without floors. Their inner walls are
plastered a reddish color, in places whitewashed, and the third wall is
decorated with interesting paintings. In the western wall of the second
story was a small window, and portions of a large T-shaped doorway still
show on the northern wall of the third story. Split sticks support the
section of wall from the top of this doorway to the roof of the cave.
From the arrangement of its rear walls it would appear that the whole of
this tower was built subsequently to the rooms back of it, which extend
on each side, north and south. The repair of a doorway of the northern
wall was difficult, the foundation walls of the eastern and northern
corners of the tower being slabs of stone set on edge, quite inadequate
to support the lofty wall above. This insufficient foundation leads to
the belief that when the base of the square tower was constructed there
was no thought of erecting upon it the four stories that we now find.
(Pl. 12, 13_a_, 14_a_.)

Some of the rooms of the square tower bear evidence of having been
living rooms, and possibly the approaches to the upper chambers were by
ladders from the outside; otherwise the T-shaped doorway on the northern
side, above the painted room, remains unexplained.

Room 12, situated east of the square tower, has no characteristic
features, being more a passageway than a room, opening at one end into
room 13 and connecting with kiva D at the other end.

Room 13 likewise presents no distinctive features; its rear wall is
considerably blackened by smoke, and it has a large square window
opening into room 12.

A large part of the front walls of rooms 14, 16, and 24 has fallen,
having been destroyed by falling water. To obviate future destruction,
the southwestern corner of room 16 was repaired with cement, thus
preventing further harm from dripping water. Rooms 16 and 24 evidently
formed a front terrace, perhaps one story high, their rear wall being
the front wall of rooms 17 and 18.

Rooms 17 and 18 are of two stories; both are square. The upper part of
its walls shows that a portion of room 18 was formerly one story high
and that the walls were erected before those of room 17. A coping of
masonry around three walls is a feature of room 18, the construction of
which is superior to that of room 17. This room has a large front
window and two smaller openings higher up in the second story of the
western wall. The combined front walls of rooms 17 and 18 may be ranked
among the finest examples of masonry in Cliff Palace. The large
embrasures made in this wall by vandals were repaired.

[Illustration: PLATE 18



Rooms 19 and 20 also present fine examples of masonry and were evidently
constructed before rooms 21, 22, and 23. The inner walls of room 19 were
plastered; the outer wall was left rough. Room 20 shows crude masonry;
its rear wall is the vertical cliff, and the inner surfaces of the three
remaining walls of the upper story were plastered, and painted with
yellow sand or pigment. Apparently the lower room was used as a granary,
having no entrance, except possibly through a hatchway in its roof,
which forms the floor of the room above. The presence of sticks
projecting from the walls of this room adds weight to the conclusion
that it was used for storage. There is no indication of a fireplace.

Room 22 has a stepping-stone, which may have facilitated entrance,
projecting from the wall under an opening that probably served as a

Room 23 has a fireplace in one corner, and rooms 25, 26, and 27, which
are situated in a row, have for their rear wall the vertical face of the
cliff. Although these rooms are only one story high, the roof of the
cave slopes down low enough in the rear to form their roofs. The outer
walls were plastered, and each room was entered by a separate doorway.
Although their side walls were somewhat destroyed, they appear not to
have been intercommunicating. It is, in fact, rare to find a doorway
from one room into another on the same level, or suites of rooms
communicating with one another, but chambers one above another are
generally provided with hatchways.

Room 28 is a two-story structure of excellent masonry, with an entrance
on its southern side and a window frame of stone. Its second story
formerly opened on the western side into room 29. Not much now remains
of the plastering that once covered the inner walls of room 28, but the
interior walls of room 29 still show well-preserved plaster. Although
the latter room has excellent masonry, its southern wall, or that facing
kiva J, is entirely destroyed. The floor was so well preserved that but
little work was required to put it in good condition.

Rooms 30 to 33 are represented almost entirely by the side walls, the
front walls being more or less destroyed. Their floors lie on the same
level as those of the second terrace, and their roofs may have been
continuous with the third terrace. There is indication of a room
(unnumbered) in the southwestern corner of plaza J, and another, too
mutilated to be described, on the second terrace below it.

Room 34 is irregularly rectangular in shape; its floor is on the level
of the roof of kiva H. It has good masonry and a smoothed stone sill
with a groove cut in the upper surface for the slab that formed the
door. Its interior walls show evidences of plastering.

Room 35, situated on the same level as the kiva roof, has no window, but
there is an opening directly into kiva H. Its roof is a continuation of
that of the kiva, and has the old rafters, some still in place,
supporting a few of the flat stones which formed the upper walls. As
this chamber opens directly into the kiva, we may regard it as a
repository for kiva paraphernalia;[40] the Hopi designate a similar
chamber _Katcinakihu_, "Katcina house." On the roof of this room the
writer set in place a smooth, ovoid stone with flat base, artificially
worked. Possibly this stone was formerly used as an idol.

[Footnote 40: The Mongkiva at Walpi has such a chamber which is closed
by a door and is opened only when paraphernalia for certain ceremonies
are desired. In the Warrior House at Walpi there is a similar chamber,
ordinarily closely sealed, in which the fetishes of the Warrior Society
are kept. Masked dancers among the Pueblos are called Katcinas, and the
masks they wear would naturally be kept in a house (_kihu_) called

In Hano, a pueblo on the East mesa of the Hopi, masks are kept in a
special room back of a living room, a custom common to all the Hopi.
There is no evidence that the Cliff Palace people performed masked

The most picturesque building of Cliff Palace is the round tower, room
36, perched on a high rock overlooking kivas G and H. From it the
observer may have a fine view of the entire ruin and the canyon,
especially the view down the latter, which is unsurpassed. This tower is
not unlike other towers in the San Juan and Mesa Verde regions, one of
the most perfect of which is that in Navaho canyon, repeatedly figured.
This prominent tower is built of worked stones laid in reddish mortar,
and apparently was plastered both inside and outside. It is two stories
high, but is without a floor in the upper story, or a roof. The theory
in certain quarters that this round tower formerly extended to the roof
of the cave is not accepted by the author, who believes that it was
formerly only a few feet higher than at present. The break in the upper
wall adds much to its picturesque character, which is likewise increased
by its association with neighboring buildings. The round tower has a
doorway in its lower story, and above is another smaller opening,
possibly a window. Several small peepholes are present on the western
side. The sides of this structure are symmetrical, its walls slanting
gradually inward from the base upward, and its vertical lines curving
slightly on the western side. (Pl. 4_a_, 11.)

Room 37 is a well-preserved room with a metataki, or grinding bin, in
the middle.

While rooms 38 and 39 appear to be living rooms, they present no special
peculiarities. The northern wall of room 39 was wholly undermined and
tottering when the work of repair was commenced, so that its foundations
had to be built up from the floor of kiva M. To make this difficult
repair work effective it was necessary to enlarge the base of the wall,
making the side of kiva M curve slightly inward and thereby insuring a
good foundation.

[Illustration: PLATE 19



The walls of rooms 41 and 42 are well preserved; the top of the cave
served as the roof. These rooms were entered from the plaza containing
kiva M. In room 42 a stepping-stone is set in the outer wall below the
doorway, the object being to facilitate entrance. It is said that this
room, the roof of which shows signs of smoke, was occupied by campers
while engaged in rifling the ruin of its contents.

The cluster of rooms numbered 43 to 45 have well-constructed walls, but
they have been considerably mutilated. Pegs from which, no doubt,
objects were formerly hung, project from the smoothly plastered interior
walls of one of these rooms.

Rooms 47 and 48 show the holes of floor joists, so placed as to indicate
two stories. These rooms form the southern side of the court, which
extends from the main plaza of the settlement to the round rooms at the
northern extremity. In front of room 50 there is a low platform from
which one steps into the room through an entrance situated about midway
of its length.

Room 51 has a very well preserved fireplace in the northwestern corner
and a doorway about midway in the northern wall. Its well-plastered
walls show impressions of the hands and fingers of the plasterers.

The eastern side of the "street"[41] is bordered by rooms 60 to 63,
inclusive, which open into it. In the wall of the last room (61) to the
south there is a small peephole that enabled the owners to see from
within the room anyone entering the street from the court. Room 59,
probably the largest angular room in Cliff Palace, is without an
entrance. Its high walls form a part of the northern and eastern ends of
the court and almost the whole western side of the street. A large
embrasure in its southern wall had been repaired by the ancient masons
before Cliff Palace was deserted. North of room 59 remains of the
foundations of rooms (not numbered on the plan) were found, and it may
be possible that at this point there was a small open space, without a
kiva; if so, it would have been exceptional in Cliff Palace.

[Footnote 41: A passage or inclosure surrounded by high walls is called
kisombi by the Hopi.]

Rooms 66 and 68 are round rooms, not kivas, although possibly ceremonial
in character. From the roof of room 66, the walls of which are now lower
than formerly, it was possible to pass on a level into one of the series
of ledge rooms previously described. The floor of room 68 is exceptional
in being lower than that of the cave outside, so that on entering it
one descends by a step or two. Room 67 appears to have been more a
passageway (_kisombi_) than a room, a step from it leading down to the
level of the triangular plaza in front of the Speaker-chief's House,
south of room 70.

Room 70 is a milling room, with two well-preserved metatakis in one
corner, each with a set of metates. In the wall above these mealing
troughs there is a small window through which the women engaged in
grinding corn could see the passers through the court east of this room.
The opposite corner is occupied by a fireplace, and the adjacent wall is
pierced by a doorway with elevated threshold, through which one passed
from the milling room to the broad Speaker-chief's platform south of
rooms 71 and 72.

The inclosed space west of rooms 71 and 73 is separated from the rear of
the cave by a high wall which shuts off entrance on this side. The
series of rooms numbered 71 to 74, and the two rooms west of these,
form, with the banquette and the neighboring plaza, what is here
arbitrarily designated the Speaker-chief's House, the walls of which
consist of some of the finest masonry in Cliff Palace. It is protected
on the western side by a high, well-plastered wall extending southward
from the corner of room 72, so placed as to shield the plaza from storms
from this side. The banquette south of rooms 72 and 73 is also finely
plastered, and is approached from the plaza by a single step. This
banquette probably was designed for the use of the Speaker-chief, but a
similar structure on the eastern side of the plaza quarter served
another purpose.

The masonry, the doors and windows, and other structural features of the
Speaker-chief's House are the best in Cliff Palace. Lintels, jambs, and
door and window sills are of smooth-dressed stones and project beyond
the wall. The rear rooms of this cluster extend to the roof of the cave,
being three stories high, while those in front are two stories in
height. The line of holes shown in plate 15 indicates the former
position of rafters, but all signs of woodwork have disappeared from
this section of the ruin.

On the western side of the Speaker-chief's House are two rooms, 79 and
80, likewise well built. The former has a banquette extending across the
eastern side, and the latter is triangular in shape, with the exterior
side rounded. The foundations of these rooms rest upon a large rock that
has settled and cracked, the crack extending vertically into the walls,
showing that it has developed since the wall was constructed.

The inclosures 76 to 78, extending to the cave roof, are more like
granaries for the storage of corn. They are built of flat stone slabs
placed on edge, and rest on bowlders that have fallen from the cave
roof, which is here lower than in the middle part of the cavern. Of
these inclosures, 78 is the best preserved, all holes in its angles
being skillfully closed with adobe mortar, so that even now if the
door were replaced it would be almost rat proof. The door opening is
square, and is situated at the western side. There is no adequate
evidence that these rooms served as turkey houses, as some have
interpreted them.

[Illustration: PLATE 20


The rear walls of rooms 89 and 90 are well preserved, but those in front
have been completely destroyed. The former has a banquette like that of
the Speaker-chief's House. The walls of rooms situated north and east of
kiva U, now reduced in height, formerly extended to the roof of the
cave, which is here somewhat lower than in the middle of the cavern. The
existence of these former walls is indicated by light bands on the
smoke-covered surface of the cave roof, and fragments of clay still
adhering to the side of the cliff show that the walls here were two and
three stories high.

In rooms 84, 85, and 86 the builder took advantage of the cliff for rear
walls. The middle of the floor of 84 has a depression lined with
vertical slabs of stone, evidently a fireplace, as it contained a
quantity of wood ashes. In the floor on the eastern side of this
fireplace there is a short trench also lined with stone and containing
wood ashes, the relation of which to the other inclosure is unknown. It
appears that this exceptional structure was not used in the same way as
the fireplaces so constantly met with in other rooms, but that it might
have been used for baking paper-bread, called _piki_ by the Hopi. In a
corner of room 91 there is another depression, half under the floor,
covered with a flat stone, that appears quite likely to have been used
for this purpose. Unlike the fireplaces sunken in the floor, the one in
room 84 is partially or wholly above the floor, its confining stones
being several inches above the floor level.

Room 92 is the best example of a milling room in Cliff Palace. It has
four grinding bins, or metatakis, arranged side by side, with all the
parts entire and in working condition. When excavation was begun in this
part of the ruin these structures were wholly concealed under fallen
rocks. As streams of water from a vertical cleft in the cliff poured
down upon them after exposure during periods of rain, it was necessary
to construct a roof to protect them.[42] The discovery of this and of
other grinding rooms shows that the cliff-house metatakis are the same
in structure as those in the Hopi pueblos. In an inclosure south of
these metatakis was found a granary. Fragments of walls projecting from
the cliff west of room 93 show the former existence of rooms in this
section, but as their front walls have been obliterated by the downpour
of water their form is obscure.

[Footnote 42: On the top of the rock that forms the foundation of the
walls of these rooms, and south of them, are hollows or grooves where
the metates were ground, and shallow pits used in some prehistoric game.
There are similar pits in some of the kiva floors.]


There are in Cliff Palace 23 ceremonial rooms that may be called
kivas.[43] These consist of two types: (1) generally circular or
cylindrical subterranean rooms, with pilasters to support the roof, and
with fireplace, deflector, and ventilator. (2) Circular or rectangular
rooms with rounded corners, without pilasters, fireplace, or deflector.
In the first group may be placed provisionally a subtype (kiva M, for
example), without pilasters but with a single large banquette. As this
subtype is the dominant one in the western part of the San Juan
drainage, it may be necessary later to regard it as a type. As a rule
rooms of the second type are not subterranean, but are commonly
surrounded by high walls, being entered by a doorway at one side. There
are 20 rooms pertaining to the first type and three to the second type
in Cliff Palace.[44]

[Footnote 43: The word _kiva_, now universally employed in place of the
Spanish designation "estufa" to designate a ceremonial room of the
Pueblos, is derived from the Hopi language. The designation is archaic,
the element ki being both Pima and Hopi for "house." It has been sought
to connect this word with a part of the human body, and esoterically the
kiva represents one of the underworlds or womb of the earth from which
the races of man were born. It is highly appropriate that ancient
ceremonies should take place in a kiva, the symbolic representation of
an underworld, for many of the ceremonies are said to have been
practiced while man still lived within the Earth Mother. The word _kiva_
is restricted to subterranean chambers, rectangular or circular, in
which secret ceremonies are or were held, and the term _kihu_ is
suggested for ceremonial rooms above ground. The five kivas at Walpi are
examples of the true kiva, while the Flute chamber may be called a

[Footnote 44: The so-called "warrior room" in Spruce-tree House belongs
to the second type.]

The majority of the kivas are situated in front of the secular
buildings, but several are in the rear of the cave, with high rooms in
front of them. The largest cluster of kivas on the cave floor lies in
the so-called plaza quarter, which takes its name from the open space
occupied by the kivas in that section. The rooms on the terraces,
especially those near the southern end of the ruin, were covered with
fallen rocks and other débris when the excavation and repair work began.
The walls of most of the kivas, whether in front or in the rear, were
greatly dilapidated and in all instances it was necessary to rebuild
them to the level of the plazas in which the kivas are situated.

Following comparisons with modern pueblos, there is every reason to
suppose that the kivas preserve the oldest types of buildings of the
cliff-dweller culture, and it is believed that the form of these archaic
structures is a survival of antecedent conditions. They belonged to the
men of different clans, as in a measure is the case among the Hopi at
the present day, with whom every kiva is spoken of as that of a certain
man who is a clan chief. The male and female members of every Hopi clan
have affiliation with certain kivas (a survival of archaic conditions),
and in certain clan gatherings, as the dramatic exhibition which occurs
in March, the celebration takes place in their respective kivas.

[Illustration: PLATE 21


As the kiva is the men's room, and as religious exercises are largely
controlled by men, such ceremonies occur in kivas, which are practically
the ceremonial rooms.[45]

[Footnote 45: In certain ceremonies of Hopi women's societies the kiva
has also come to be a meeting place for these sororities and where they
erect their altars.]


All kivas of the first type are constructed on the same general plan,
the different parts being somewhat modified by surrounding conditions.
While their general form is circular or cylindrical, some are square
with rounded angles, others oblong, and others more or less
heart-shaped. Their diameter and height vary according to circumstances,
but this type is always subterranean when possible, even though
excavation in the rock may be necessary.

The walls of the kivas are sometimes double, and the masonry is
generally well constructed. The walls show evidences of plastering,
which is decorated in some instances with paintings or incised figures.
The number of pilasters is commonly 6, but 4 and 8 are also evident;
rarely, as in kiva M (the subtype), all are missing. Between these
pilasters are the so-called banquettes, one of which is usually larger
than the others. The banquettes are generally built 3 or 4 feet in
height, consequently they could scarcely have been intended for seats.

The pilasters are commonly rectangular, sometimes square, the size being
about uniform from base upward. In rare instances a pilaster has a
cubby-hole[46] in one side. Where circumstances require the ventilator
penetrates the rear portion of the pilaster, but the flue never enters
the side of the kiva under a pilaster.

[Footnote 46: These small holes, generally square, are usually found in
the wall below the banquette.]

The pilasters, which are almost universal in kivas of the first type, as
has been shown in the description and illustrations of the eight kivas
of Spruce-tree House, served as supports for the roof beams. These
rafters of pine rested upon and served to support other logs laid one
over another, so that finally the roof opening was covered. Across the
middle of the walls, at the top, two long parallel logs were placed, in
order to add stability to the roof structure. These beams were set far
enough apart to allow a hatch midway between their ends, which served
the purpose of an entrance and also permitted the escape of smoke from
the fire directly below.

Over the framework of logs were laid small sticks, filling the
interstices, and above these was spread a layer of cedar bark; the whole
was then covered with clay, thus bringing the upper surface of the roof
to the level of the adjacent plaza. Whether the kiva walls projected
above the plaza and roof level is unknown, but possibly they did, and
there may have been a slight elevation of the hatchway, as in the Hopi
kivas. It is commonly believed that the kiva roof was level with the
surrounding plaza and that the entrance was through a hatchway, but no
depression or other sign of a ladder or of its resting place on the kiva
floor has yet been found in any of the Mesa Verde ruins.

The floors of the kivas are commonly of hardened adobe; unlike those of
the Hopi kivas they are never paved with stones, but the natural rock
often serves for that purpose. It is not rare to find the surface of
solid rock that forms the kiva floor cut down a few feet to a lower
level. Although generally smooth, when the floor is the natural rock
there are sometimes found in it small, cup-like, artificial depressions
similar to those in the horizontal surfaces of the cliff or in slabs of
detached rock.

The fire-pit, which is found in all kivas of the first type,[47] is a
circular depression situated slightly to one side of the middle of the
room. While generally lined with adobe, slabs of stone sometimes form
its border, and it is also to be noted that one or two of these small
stones sometimes project above the floor level. The fire-hole is
sometimes deep, and is generally filled with wood ashes, indicating long

[Footnote 47: The fire in these rooms was more for light than for heat,
for when roofed a large fire would have produced so much smoke and heat
that the occupants would be driven out. The character of the ashes
indicates that logs were not used as firewood, but that the prescribed
kiva fuel was, as at Walpi, small twigs or brush. No evidence of lamps
has been found in cliff-dwellings, the lamp-shaped pottery objects
having been used for purposes other than illumination.]

Every kiva of the first type has a lateral passageway for the admission
of air, opening into the chamber on the floor level, generally under the
large banquette. This passage, or tunnel, here designated a flue,
communicates either directly with the outside or turns upward at a right
angle and forms a small vertical ventilator which opens at the level of
the plaza. Between the entrance into the flue from the kiva and the
fire-hole there rises from the floor a device called the deflector
(sometimes called an altar), the object of which was to prevent flames
and smoke being drawn into the ventilator, or to evenly circulate the
inflowing fresh air in the chamber. This deflector may be (1) a low
stone wall, free on both ends; (2) a curved wall connected with the kiva
wall on each side with orifices to allow the passage of air; (3) a stone
slab in the kiva floor; (4) a bank, free at each end, supported by
upright stakes between which are woven twigs, the whole being plastered
with clay.[48]

[Footnote 48: Cosmos Mindeleff quotes from Nordenskiöld a description of
a Mesa Verde kiva, the deflector of which was made in the same way.]

The supposed functions of the flue, the vertical passage, and the
ventilator have been discussed by several archeologists. The uses to
which the flue has been ascribed are as follows: (1) a chimney, (2) a
ceremonial opening, (3) an entrance, (4) a ventilator. There is no sign
of smoke on the interior of the vertical passage, which, being too small
to admit a person, would seem to prove the first and third theories
untenable. In the Navaho National Monument, where there are square
rooms, or _kihus_, with banks similar to the deflectors of the circular
kivas, a door takes the place of the flue and the vertical passage, and
affords the only means for admitting fresh air to the room. Although it
may have originated as a simple entrance to the room, it became so
modified that it could no longer have served that purpose, ceremonially
or otherwise.

[Illustration: PLATE 22


_a_ Pounding stone

_b_ Projectile point

_c_ Cover for vase

_d_ Flat stone slab]

The position of the entrance to the Cliff Palace kiva is yet to be
definitely determined. Analogy, together with the structure of the roof,
would indicate that it was by means of a hatchway, but no remains of a
ladder were found, and no indication in the floor where a ladder
formerly rested is visible. It may be that the large banquette indicates
the position of the hatchway.[49]

[Footnote 49: On this supposition the large banquette may have been the
forerunner of the spectator's section in the modern rectangular Hopi
kivas, of which it is a modification.]

The subterranean passageway under the flue and beneath the floor of kiva
V should not be overlooked in a study of the origin and function of the
ventilator. This structure is without apparent connection with the
ventilator, and yet it is so carefully constructed under it that it may
have had some relation, a knowledge of which will eventually enlighten
us regarding the meaning of both structures.

The kivas of the Mesa Verde are much smaller than those of Walpi and
other Hopi pueblos, one of them being barely 9 feet in diameter and the
largest measuring not more than 19 feet, whereas the chief kiva at Walpi
is 25 feet long by 15 feet wide. Evidently kivas of such diminutive size
as those found at Cliff Palace could accommodate only a few at a time,
and it is probable that they were not occupied by fraternities of
priests but by a few chiefs; indeed, the religious fraternity, as we
understand its composition in modern pueblos, had in all probability not
yet been developed. Nevertheless the smallest kiva in Cliff Palace is as
large as the room in Walpi in which the Sun priests, mainly of one clan,
celebrate their rites.


Kiva A (pl. 17) is the most southerly kiva of Cliff Palace, the first of
the series excavated in the talus, its roof having been on the level of
the cave floor, or the fourth terrace. The walls of this kiva required
little repair. Its height from the floor to the top of the walls is 8
feet 6 inches, and from the floor to the top of the pilasters 7 feet;
the height of the banquette is 3 feet 6 inches. The interior diameter is
11 feet. There are six pilasters, with an average breadth of 20 inches;
the distance between them averages 4 feet 6 inches.

The opening into the ventilator is situated in the southwestern wall;
its height is 2 feet 4 inches, the breadth, at the base, 14 inches,
contracted to 11 inches at the top. The deflector, which is broken, is a
thin slab of stone. The distance from the flue opening to the deflector
is 2 feet 6 inches, and from the deflector to the round fire-hole 8
inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 1 foot 8 inches, its depth 2
feet. Its western side is lined with small stones set on edge.

There were possibly 4 niches in the side wall of the banquette, 3 of
them on the east, measuring respectively 16 by 20 by 12 inches, 9 by 9
by 12 inches, and 3 by 3 by 5 inches, and the remaining one situated
north by east from the middle of the kiva and measuring 6 by 4 by 8

[Footnote 50: The measurements of the kivas here given were determined
by Mr. R. G. Fuller, who served as voluntary assistant during the

There is a subterranean passageway (pl. 17, _b_), 6 feet 6 inches long,
from this kiva into room 1, and also a tunnel (pl. 17, _a_), 6 feet in
length, between kivas A and B. The former has stone steps and rises
above the banquette; its width averages 18 inches.


Kiva B adjoins kiva A, and is the second of the terraced rooms, its roof
being originally on the same level as the former. It is circular in
shape, and the height from the floor to the top of the room is 9 feet 6
inches. The height of the top of the pilasters from the floor is 7 feet,
and that of the banquette 3 feet 6 inches.

The inner diameter of the kiva is 13 feet 6 inches. There are 6
pilasters, averaging 2 feet in width. The position of the ventilator
opening is south by west; its depth 4 feet, and height 2 feet 6 inches.
The breadth of this opening at the top (it narrows somewhat at the base)
is 18 inches.

The deflector[51] is a slab of stone about 3 feet 10 inches wide. The
distance from the deflector to the kiva wall is 2 feet 6 inches, and
from the deflector to the fire-hole 14 inches. The diameter of the
fire-hole measures 2 feet, and its depth 9 inches. The distance from the
ceremonial opening, or sipapû, to the fire-hole is 4 feet. The diameter
of the sipapû is 4 inches and its depth the same. There are 5 niches in
the kiva wall.

[Footnote 51: With the exception of that in kiva Q there has not been
found in any deflector a large stone ("fire stone") forming the cap or
top. In deflectors formed of a slab of stone such a "fire stone" on top
would be impossible.]

The masonry of this kiva is fairly good, its western wall naturally
being the most destroyed. The banquette over the tunnel into kiva A is
broader than any of the others. On the eastern side the kiva walls are
apparently double.

[Illustration: PLATE 23


_a_ Pottery fragment with bird-claw decoration in relief

_b_, _d_ Food bowls

_c_ Incised stone

_e_ Decorated fragment of earthenware

_f_ Cover for vase]


This kiva is circular; it measures 13 feet in diameter, and 5 feet 6
inches from the floor to the top of the pilasters. The height of the
banquette is 3 feet. The number of pilasters is 6; their average breadth
is 2 feet.

The deflector is a stone wall laid in mortar; its width is 3 feet 6
inches; the thickness, 8 inches. From the flue to the deflector is 2
feet 4 inches, and from the same to the fire-hole, 8 inches. The
diameter of the fire-hole is 2 feet, its depth 1 foot. The sipapû is 2
feet from the fire-hole; it is 6 inches deep and 4 inches in diameter.

The masonry of this kiva was in very poor condition, most of the upper
part being wholly broken down. There are 4 niches in the walls. The
surface is thickly plastered and shows a deposit of smoke. The pilasters
are of uniform size. The deep banquette is situated above the flue back
of the deflector.


Kiva D is square, with rounded corners; it is 13 feet in diameter; its
walls are 10 feet high and measure 7 feet from the floor to the top of
the pilasters. The height of the banquette is 4 feet. The number of
pilasters is 6; their average distance apart is 4 feet 6 inches, and
their width 2 feet. The eastern wall of this kiva is the side of the
cave, and the whole was inclosed by high walls. On the southern side of
the kiva is a passageway. The walls of the kiva and the cave roof above
it are blackened with smoke. There are two deep banquettes.

The flue opens in the western wall of the kiva; its height is 2 feet,
and its width at the top is 13 inches. The distance from the flue to the
deflector is 2 feet 6 inches; from the deflector to the fire-hole, 13
inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 2 feet and its depth 1 foot.
The distance from the fire-hole to the sipapû is 2 feet 2 inches; the
diameter of the latter is 3 inches. This kiva has 5 finely made
rectangular niches in the walls. The walls are well plastered and were
painted yellow. Wherever the masonry is visible it is found inferior to
none except possibly that of kiva Q.[52]

[Footnote 52: This kiva, which is one of the best in Cliff Palace, is
illustrated by Nordenskiöld.]


Kiva E is square, with rounded corners; it measures 11 feet 6 inches in
diameter, and is 9 feet 10 inches high. The elevation of the banquette
is 4 feet, and of the pilasters 7 feet. The number of pilasters is 6.
The flue opens on the western side.

The deflector consists of a wall of stone, 2 feet high; its width is 3
feet 6 inches, the thickness 9 inches. The distance from the deflector
to the flue is 1 foot 10 inches, and from the fire-hole 3 inches. There
are 4 mural niches. As the projecting rock on the eastern side
interfered with the symmetry of this kiva, when constructed it was
necessary to peck the rock away 8 inches deep over an area 10 feet
square, thus exhibiting, next to the floor of kiva V, the most extensive
piece of kiva stone-cutting in Cliff Palace. Although this kiva was
generally in a fair state of preservation, it was necessary to rebuild
much of the eastern wall.

The fire-hole of this kiva is lined with a rude jar set with adobe
mortar. No sipapû was discovered in the floor. Kiva E is one of the few
kivas in Cliff Palace surrounded by the walls of rooms. As it is
situated in the rear of the cave, projecting walls of the cliff were
necessarily cut away to a considerable extent in order to obtain the
form of room desired on the eastern side. This side of the kiva is
blackened by smoke antedating the construction of the room. There is
abundant evidence in this portion of the ruin of secondary construction
of buildings on the same site. Several walls built upon others show that
some rooms may have been abandoned and new ones added, an indication
that this portion of the ruin is very old, perhaps having the oldest
walls still standing.


Kiva F, situated on a lower terrace than the kivas already described, is
square, with rounded corners, and is 9 feet high. The height of the
pilasters is 6 feet 10 inches, and the top of the banquette is 4 feet 1
inch above the floor. The diameter of the kiva is 13 feet. There are 6
pilasters; the distance between them averages 5 feet; their average
width is 2 feet 4 inches. The deflector, a wall of masonry, is 3 feet
wide and averages 9 inches in thickness.

The deflector is 2 feet from the flue and 18 inches from the fire-hole,
which is 2 feet in diameter and the same in depth. The distance from the
fire-hole to the sipapû is 2 feet 4 inches. The diameter of the sipapû
is 2½ inches, and its depth 5 inches.

There are 3 mural niches, similar to those previously described. The
roof of this kiva was of the same level as the floors of rooms 16 and
24, the roofs of which overlooked the kiva situated in the terrace

The walls of this kiva are black with smoke. The room is surrounded by a
second wall, the interval between which and that of the kiva is filled
with rubble.


This kiva may be called "heartshaped." Its height from the floor to the
top of the roof is 9 feet, and it measures 6 feet from the floor to the
top of the pilasters. The banquette is 4 feet high, and the interior
diameter of the kiva is 12 feet. The numbers of pilasters is 6; their
average breadth is a little more than 2 feet, and the intervals between
them averages 3 feet 6 inches.

[Illustration: PLATE 24


The deflector is a stone slab 3 feet wide and 2 feet high. The distance
from the flue to the deflector is 2 feet; from the deflector to the
fire-hole 11 inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 2 feet, its depth
18 inches. The sipapû is 2 feet 8 inches from the fire-hole; its
diameter is 2 inches, and its depth 4 inches. There are 4 mural niches.

This kiva is situated in the terrace below that last mentioned, that is,
in the second terrace, and was wholly buried when excavations began. The
roofs of rooms 30 and 31 overlooked this kiva, their floors being on the
same level as the kiva roof.


Kiva H (pl. 18) measures 8 feet from the floor to the top of the wall,
and 6 feet from the floor to the top of the pilasters. The height of the
banquette is 4 feet 6 inches. The diameter of the kiva is 11 feet 6

The deflector is a curved stone wall joining the kiva wall on each side
of the flue.[53] It is built of stone, 7 feet 6 inches high, 10 inches
wide, and 20 inches high. The deflector is 1 foot 6 inches from the flue
and 15 inches from the fire-hole. The diameter of the fire-hole is 2
feet and its depth 1 foot.

[Footnote 53: A similar deflector is recorded by Mr. Morley as existing
in the Cannonball ruin, and is figured by Nordenskiöld from the Mesa

The sipapû is situated 2 feet from the fire-hole; it is 3 inches in
diameter and 4 inches deep.

There are 2 mural niches. Exceptional features of this kiva are the
curved deflector and the opening into a small room at the northwestern
corner. Instead of extending straight from the kiva to the vertical
ventilator, the flue turns at a right angle midway in its course. The
ventilator is built at one corner of the kiva wall. As this kiva lies
deep below the base of the round tower, a fine view of these several
characteristics may be obtained from that point.


When work began there was no indication of the walls of this kiva,
except a fragment of one which at first was supposed to belong to a
small secular room. The kiva had been filled with débris by those who
had dug into the upper rooms, and a large hole[54] was broken through
the high western wall of kiva L, through which to throw débris. The
removal of this accumulation was a work of considerable magnitude, and
the repair of the kiva wall was very difficult, as it was necessary to
reconstruct the foundations that had been blasted away to make the
opening above mentioned.

[Footnote 54: This entrance in the wall appears in all photographs of
this portion of Cliff Palace.]

When this débris was removed and the floor of the kiva was reached, it
was found that its walls were much disintegrated, the component stones
having practically turned into sand, necessitating the construction of
buttresses to support them. The dimensions of kiva I are as follows: The
height of the top of the wall from the floor is 8 feet, and that of the
pilasters 6 feet 8 inches. The banquette rises 3 feet 8 inches above the
floor. The interior diameter of the kiva is 10 feet 10 inches. The
number of pedestals is 4, averaging 4 feet in height.

The flue is situated at the southwestern side. The distance from the
flue to the deflector is 21 inches; from the deflector to the fire-hole,
2 inches. There are two mural niches, one at the northeast measuring 13
by 11 by 8 inches, and one at the southeast measuring 13 by 11 by 7
inches. A dado, painted red, surrounded the kiva, the color being most
conspicuous, because best protected, in the mural niches, half of which
are above, half below the upper margin of the dado. On this margin are
traceable triangular figures like those on the painted wall of room 11.

On the level of what was formerly the roof of this kiva was set into the
roof a vase covered with a flat stone and containing desiccated bodies
of lizards.[55]

[Footnote 55: For a note on a similar vase and its use, see remarks on
kiva S. It is probable that these dried lizards were regarded by the
Cliff Palace priests as very potent "medicine."]


Kiva J is round; it is 14 feet in diameter and measures 8 feet 4 inches
from the floor to the top of the wall. The height from the floor to the
top of one of the pilasters is 5 feet 10 inches. The banquette is 3 feet
2 inches high. The deep banquette, as is usually the case, is above the
flue, which opens in the southwestern wall. The number of pedestals is
6; their average breadth is 2 feet. The deflector consists of a stone
wall rising 20 inches above the kiva floor. There are 7 mural niches.
The kiva walls were thickly plastered with adobe, and show the action of

[Footnote 56: From all appearances the kivas were plastered from time to
time after the walls had become blackened.]

The open space east of the kiva, formerly continuous with its roof, is
somewhat larger than is usually the case, making this the largest plaza
in Cliff Palace, except that of the plaza quarter. There are remnants of
rooms southwest of the kiva.

[Illustration: PLATE 25









Kiva K[57] is round in form, and its height from the floor to the roof
is 7 feet. The height of the pilasters is 5 feet, and that of the
banquette 3 feet. The diameter of the kiva is 9 feet 6 inches. The
pilasters are 5 in number, and average about 20 inches in width. The
deflector of this kiva is exceptional, being the only known instance
where this structure is constructed of upright stakes bound with twigs
or cedar bark and plastered with adobe.[58] The distance from the flue
to the deflector is 18 inches, and from the deflector to the fire-hole,
8 inches. The diameter of the fire-hole is 20 inches, the depth 8
inches. The walls of this smallest of the kivas are formed partly of
masonry, but in places the chamber is excavated out of solid rock, the
ancient builders having pecked away projections in order to produce the
desired form.

[Footnote 57: This kiva, one of the finest and in some features the most
exceptional in Cliff Palace, is not indicated in Nordenskiöld's plan.]

[Footnote 58: Nordenskiöld describes a ventilator constructed in the
same way.]

The marks of smoke are clearly visible, especially on the flue; and on
the surface of the eastern side are scratched several figures
representing birds and other animals. Eyelets of osiers set in the wall
are also exceptional, and their use is problematical.


The height of kiva L is 7 feet 5 inches, that of the pilasters 5 feet 4
inches, and of the banquette 3 feet 3 inches. The diameter is 12 feet 2
inches. Number of pilasters 6. The flue opens on the western side; its
height is 2 feet. Only a single mural niche was recognizable.

The walls of this kiva were very badly damaged, the whole of its front
having fallen inward, covering the floor. The construction of the room
demanded considerable rock cutting, especially on the eastern side, to
secure the requisite depth. Whatever masonry remained in position was,
as a rule, good. Probably no kiva in Cliff Palace was more dilapidated
when work began. It had been used as a dump by those who had mutilated
the ruins, and a great opening had been torn in its western wall.
Excavations showed that the floor had been wholly destroyed.


The height of kiva N is 7 feet 4 inches, and that of the pilasters 5
feet 4 inches. The banquette is 3 feet high. The diameter of the kiva is
11 feet. There are 6 pilasters and 5 mural niches.

This kiva was in bad condition when the work began, but it is now in
good repair and exhibits interesting features. The deflector was wholly
destroyed, and it was impossible to find the sipapû. There are evidences
of considerable rock cutting on the northern side, and of a little on
the eastern and southwestern sides. The kiva walls are blackened by


The height of kiva P is 8 feet, its diameter 11 feet 3 inches. The
height from the floor to the top of a pilaster is 5 feet 10 inches, and
to the top of the banquette 3 feet 4 inches. The number of pilasters is
6, and their average breadth about 20 inches.

From the flue to the deflector the distance is 2 feet 8 inches, and the
deflector is situated 6 inches from the fire-hole. There are 5 mural

The walls of this kiva are much blackened by smoke. The masonry is fair,
but much broken on the northern and western sides. There is evidence
that a considerable amount of rock has been pecked away on the northern
side to the floor level. The kiva occupies almost the whole open space
in which it is constructed, and the walls of neighboring buildings
surround it on all sides, rising from the edge of the kiva. In order to
secure a level foundation, parallel beams to support the floor were laid
from a projecting rock to a masonry wall. The ends of these logs project
above the path that leads to the main entrance.


This kiva (pl. 19) is round in shape and measures 8 feet 6 inches from
the floor to the top of the wall. There were formerly eight pilasters,
which averaged 18 inches in breadth. The height of the pilasters is 6
feet, and of the top of the banquette 3 feet 3 inches. The diameter of
the kiva is 13 feet 8 inches.

The fire-hole is 22 inches from the deflector; the thickness of the
latter is 10 inches, and its width 3 feet 3 inches. There are four mural
niches, all in fine condition. Although the masonry of this kiva is the
finest in Cliff Palace, its whole western end is destroyed. The floor
west of the deflector has a slightly convex surface.[59]

[Footnote 59: In ceremonial rooms of ruins in the Navaho National
Monument this curve is represented by a raised step.]

No ceremonial opening, or sipapû, such as occurs in several other Cliff
Palace kivas, was found in kiva Q. At the place where this feature
usually appears the floor was broken, but as several of the Cliff Palace
kivas have no specialized sipapûs it is possible that this device may be
looked for in another opening in the floor. There are no sipapûs in the
Hano kivas of the East Mesa of the Hopi, and the priests of that pueblo
assert that the Tewa have no special hole in the kiva floor to represent
this ceremonial opening. Apparently the Pueblos of the Rio Grande are
like the Tewa of Hano in this respect. All the kivas of Spruce-tree
House and a number of those in Cliff Palace have this ceremonial
opening, thus following the Hopi rather than the Tewa custom. Whether
the fireplace was used by those who performed rites in kiva Q as a
symbolic opening into or from the "underworld" is unknown, to the
writer. The subterranean passage in kiva V leading to the fire-hole, but
not entering it, is interesting in this particular. Kiva V, however, as
pointed out, has in addition to the fire-hole a fine pottery-lined
sipapû corresponding to the sipapûs in Hopi kivas, but made in the solid
rock floor.

[Illustration: PLATE 26

_a_ Mugs from crematory

_b_ Dipper-bowl and corrugated vase



This kiva is square, with rounded corners. Its height is 8 feet, and the
height of one of the pilasters above the floor 5 feet 10 inches. The
banquettes are 3 feet 3 inches above the floor. The diameter of the kiva
is 10 feet 4 inches.

The number of pilasters is 6; their average breadth is 20 inches. The
distance from flue to deflector, which is a slab of stone, is 3 feet 2
inches; the height of the deflector is 1 foot 7 inches and its width 3

From the deflector to the fire-hole the distance is 7 inches. The
diameter of the fire-hole is 2 feet, its depth 9 inches. There are 2
mural niches. The large banquette is 3 feet 6 inches broad. The shaft of
the flue, after passing 18 inches under the kiva wall, turns
southeastward 4 feet 4 inches and then takes a vertical course. The
masonry of kiva S is fairly good. A jar is set into one of the
banquettes, and was perhaps formerly used for containing sacred
meal.[60] This receptacle was left as found, and a slab of stone placed
slantingly above it to shield it from falling stones. Under the huge
rock above it there are light masonry walls outlining diminutive rooms
used possibly for storage but not for habitation.

[Footnote 60: Among the Hopi at the present day certain fetishes, as the
effigies of the Great Plumed Serpent, are regarded as so sacred that
when not in use they are kept in jars set in a banquette, the surface of
which is level with the neck of the jar. These receptacles are closely
sealed with a stone slab when the images are deposited in them. Possibly
the jars set in the kiva banquettes of Cliff Palace may have been used
for a similar purpose: i. e., were receptacles for fetishes held in such
veneration that, as is the case with the Great Serpent effigies of the
Hopi, one even touching them may, in the belief of the people, be
afflicted with direful disorders.]


This kiva stands on an elevated rock, and has double walls, the
intervals between the wall of the kiva and the outside walls being
filled with rubble.

The height of kiva T is 7 feet 6 inches, that of one of the pilasters 6
feet 6 inches. The banquette is 3 feet 9 inches above the floor. The
diameter of the kiva is 10 feet 5 inches. There were probably 6
pilasters and 2 mural niches. Although the greater part of the walls of
this kiva was destroyed, a deep banquette still remains above the air
shaft. The floor has the same level as the second terrace, or one story
above kiva S, the roof of which is consequently at the level of the
floor of kiva T.

Kiva T was in bad condition when work began, as part of its front wall
had fallen and only the tops of the others were visible above the
débris. Even the floor level was difficult to determine.


The form of kiva U is round, and its height is 7 feet 6 inches. The
height of one of the pilasters is 4 feet 11 inches, and that of the
banquette 3 feet 4 inches. The diameter of the kiva is 12 feet. There
are 5 pilasters. The fire-hole is 4 inches from the flue; the diameter
of the fire-hole is 20 inches, its depth 6 inches. There are 6 mural
niches, so arranged that two large niches are situated above two small
ones. The presence of but 5 pedestals is accounted for by the joining of
2 above the flue. Much rock-cutting was necessary in constructing this
kiva, especially on the northern and southwestern sides. As the front
wall of the kiva had fallen, it had to be practically rebuilt. The
foundations were unstable, apparently having been constructed on loose
stones carelessly laid.


This kiva is round and measures 5 feet 6 inches from the floor to the
top of one of the pilasters. The top of the banquette is 3 feet 4 inches
above the floor. The diameter of the kiva is 12 feet 8 inches. The
number of pilasters is 6 and their average breadth 20 inches.

The distance from the deflector to the line of the wall is 23 inches;
the height, of the deflector is 22 inches, the thickness 9 inches, and
the width 3 feet 2 inches. The fire-hole is 18 inches from the sipapû;
the latter is 10 inches deep and 3 inches in diameter, and is lined with
a pottery tube cemented in place. There are three mural niches.

Kiva V is exceptional in the amount of rock-cutting that was necessary
for lowering the floor to the desired level. Probably the greatest
amount of stone-cutting was done in this kiva.

There remains to be mentioned a unique tunnel which may eventually throw
some light on ceremonial openings in the kivas of cliff-dwellings. Just
beneath the adobe floor, extending from a vertical flue outside the kiva
to the fire-hole, which it does not, however, enter, there is a passage
through which a small person may crawl. Exteriorly this opens into a
vertical flue which was broken down; inside it ends bluntly at the
fire-hole. About midway of its length there extends from it a lateral
passageway, slightly curved, forming a well-worn doorway. This curved
passage opens through the kiva floor by a manhole. The walls of these
passages are constructed of good masonry. Their function is unknown, but
as most structures connected with kivas are ceremonial, this may
provisionally be called a ceremonial opening.

[Illustration: PLATE 27


It is evident that this ceremonial passage had nothing to do or at least
had no connection with the ventilator and deflector of the kiva. The
opening is situated under the floor, passing in its course beneath the
deflector, and its external opening is by a vertical passage outside the
ventilator. It also differs from the ventilator in having a lateral
branch likewise situated under the floor. Passing to kivas outside the
Mesa Verde region, we find homologous passages recorded as present under
the floor in Pueblo Bonito, a ruin on the Chaco, and in the kiva of a
ruin not far from Chama, where the passage under the floor is excavated
in solid rock. Evidently we have in this structure a ceremonial opening
the true significance of which is yet to be determined. Is it connected
with the Tewa concept that the fire-hole is a sipapû, or was it used in
fire rites that were performed about the fireplace? These and other
questions that might be proposed must remain unanswered until more is
known of similar passages in other cliff-dwelling kivas.


The method of roof construction, which is the main difference that
distinguishes a kiva of the subtype from one of the first type, is due
to the absence of pilasters. Kiva M of Cliff Palace may be assigned to
this subtype, although many examples of it occur in ruins farther down
the San Juan, as well as in the Navaho National Monument and in Canyon
de Chelly. Kivas of the subtype are similar to those of the second type
in that pilasters are absent, but they differ from them in the presence
of a large banquette and in the subterranean position, which features
also characterize the first type. The only circular kivas known to the
ruins near the East Mesa of the Hopi of Arizona belong to the first
type, two of which are found at Kukuchomo, the two ruins on the summit
of the mesa above Sikyatki.

The method of roofing a kiva of the subtype may be clearly observed in
the kiva of Scaffold House in the Navaho National Monument.[61] The
rafters here are parallel, and extend across the top of the kiva, their
ends resting on the wall. The middle beam, which is the largest, is
flanked on each side by another. Upon these supporting beams are laid
others at right angles, and on these were placed the brush, bark, and
clay that covered the roof. Entrance was gained by means of a hatchway
on one side of the roof near the large banquette, which occupies a
position, as respects the entrance and the place supposedly occupied by
the ladder and the fire-pit, similar to the spectator's platform of a
modern rectangular Hopi kiva, except that it is higher above the floor
and is relatively smaller. If the banquettes were depressed and enlarged
into a platform, the form of the kiva being changed from circular to
rectangular, thus modified the banquette would form a structure like the
spectator's platform of a typical modern Hopi kiva.[62]

[Footnote 61: See _Bulletin 50, Bureau of American Ethnology_.]

[Footnote 62: The two circular kivas of Kukuchomo, near Sikyatki, have
this large banquette and in other respects resemble the ruins of Canyon
de Chelly. Kukuchomo marks the site of a settlement, of the Coyote clan
of the Hopi in prehistoric times.]

Perhaps of all the ceremonial rooms repaired the walls of kiva M were in
the most dangerous condition. The front of the northern wall of room 39
had been undermined and was without foundation, hanging without basal
support except at the ends. A support was constructed under this hanging
wall, and to give additional strength the foundations were rebuilt a
little broader at the base than formerly, causing the wall to bulge
almost imperceptibly into the kiva. Although no pilasters were seen, the
deep banquette on the northwestern side places it among the kivas of the
first type.


The architecture of the two kivas O and R are so different from those
already considered that they are set apart from the others in a second
type. The form and structure of kiva W indicate that this room also may
be classed as of the same type. In the side canyon north of that in
which Cliff Palace is situated, where water was obtained throughout the
summer, there is another kiva, also supposed to belong to the second

[Footnote 63: As a huge rock had fallen from the roof of the cave in
which this kiva lies, since it was first occupied, it would appear that
the place was abandoned on that account.]

The main difference in construction between the two types of kivas is
the absence of pilasters, which implies the absence of a roof in the
second type. The suggestion that a kiva of the second type is simply an
unfinished form of the first type has little to support it, but whether
the architectural difference in the two types has any functional
importance or meaning is unknown. It has been suggested that one type
was used by the Winter, the other by the Summer people.[64]

[Footnote 64: Nordenskiöld's description of this kiva has been quoted
earlier in this paper. In the description of a ceremonial room of a
somewhat similar or of the same type in Spruce-tree House the term
"warrior room" is used; there is nothing to warrant this designation,
however, and it would be better to consider it simply as a kiva of the
second type.]

[Illustration: PLATE 28



Kiva O is rounded below and square above, with a north-south diameter of
11 feet 10 inches, and an east-west diameter of 10 feet 6 inches. The
ventilator opens in the western wall. There are 2 mural niches.

Both the plastered floor and the deflector are lacking, and there is no
fire-hole nor sipapû. No roof or pilasters to support it were detected.
It is difficult to measure the surrounding wall on account of its
varying height. The masonry is good, but there are no signs on the walls
that a fire had ever burned within the chamber. It would appear that
this kiva was roofless, and that it had broad banquettes at the northern
and southern sides.


In shape this kiva is oval below and square above, without pilasters or
other evidences of a roof. There are no signs of a floor, a deflector,
or a fire-hole. The surrounding wall of the kiva is high; apparently
there was an entrance at the eastern side. Banquettes are present on the
northern and southern ends, and a narrow ledge skirts the other two

There are 4 mural niches: (1) south by east, measuring 15 by 11 by 13
inches; (1) north by east, measuring 11½ by 8 by 15 inches; (2) in the
north wall, measuring 13 by 8 by 12 inches, and 12 by 8 by 13 inches;
the latter three being placed in a row and separated by slabs of stone.
In the south wall there is a tunnel terminating bluntly and bifurcated
at the end.

Although kiva R was regarded by Nordenskiöld as furnishing evidence of a
transition form connecting circular and rectangular kivas, it seems to
the author a new type rather than a modification of the circular or the
rectangular kivas.


Kiva W is not generally included among the Cliff Palace ceremonial rooms
on account of its isolation from the houses, but there is no doubt that
it should be so enumerated. It lies about 50 feet west of the end of the
last room in the cliff-dwelling, and is not accompanied with secular
rooms. Although situated on the same level as the houses, its walls rise
two tiers high, but no part of the inclosure is subterranean.

From the height of the walls it at first seemed as if in kiva W there
were evidences of a room above. This condition would be contrary to the
rule and, to the Hopi mind, ceremonially impossible; but if its upper
walls are regarded as homogeneous with the high walls that surround
kivas O and R, and we interpret this as an example of the second type of
kiva, the anomaly is explained.

Although this kiva is placed provisionally in the second type mainly
because of these lofty side walls, on account of its isolation at the
end of Cliff Palace several observers have not regarded it as belonging
to the ruin. Neither Nordenskiöld nor Morley and Kidder included it in
their ground plans, nor does Nordenskiöld mention it in his enumeration
of Cliff Palace kivas.

As kiva W is almost wholly unprotected by the cave roof, its walls have
greatly suffered from the downpour of rains to which they are exposed.
The masonry is fairly good. Evidently it was an important building, and
was isolated from other rooms possibly for some special purpose. As
there are few or no walls of secular rooms near it, one may believe that
it was resorted to by the villagers on special occasions and did not
belong to any one clan.


In the preceding pages have been described the major antiquities, such
as walls and those permanent objects which could not be removed from the
places where they were constructed without more or less harm. There
remain to be considered the minor antiquities, or the smaller objects
which are movable and of a more perishable nature, especially if left in
the places where they were found. It was mainly in search of such
objects that much of the mutilation of Cliff Palace was done.

It was not expected that excavations would yield any considerable number
of specimens, since for years Cliff Palace had been dug over in search
of them, and many hundreds of objects had already been found and carried
away to be sold either to museums or to individuals. Notwithstanding
these unfavorable conditions, the collection of objects, now deposited
in the National Museum, is sufficient to afford some idea of the culture
of the Cliff Palace people.

Among the objects that may be mentioned in the category of minor
antiquities are pottery, basketry, implements of stone, bone, and wood,
fabrics of various kinds, ornaments, fetishes, and the like--all those
objects commonly called artifacts that make up collections from
cliff-dwellings generally.

The excavations at Cliff Palace have revealed no specimens strikingly
different from those already described as from Spruce-tree House. We
would expect some variation in the symbols on pottery from the two
ruins, but the differences are not conspicuous in the few specimens that
have been compared. Nor is there any peculiarity in the form of the
pottery, as the ceramic objects from Cliff Palace practically duplicate
those from Spruce-tree House, already described, and probably are not
much unlike those still buried in Long House, Balcony House, and the
House with the Square Tower.

[Illustration: PLATE 29


As many ceremonial objects, being highly prized, may have been removed
from Cliff Palace when the place was deserted by its inhabitants, the
few that remained present scant material from which to add to our
knowledge of the ceremonial life of the people. The existence of so many
kivas would point to many rites, although a large number of sacred rooms
does not necessarily indicate more complex or elaborate rites than a
smaller number: multiplicity of kivas does not necessarily mean
multiplicity of ceremonies, nor few kivas a limited ritual. In no pueblo
are there more complicated ceremonies than at Walpi, where there are
only five of these sacred rooms; but it must be remembered that many of
the religious rites of Walpi are performed in kihus, or secular rooms.
The same may have been true of Cliff Palace.

The writer's belief is that in historic times, by which is meant since
the advent of missionaries, altars have become more elaborate and rites
more complex at Walpi than in prehistoric times, and that through the
same influence the use of images or idols has also increased. This
increase in the complexity of rites may be traced to the amalgamation of
clans or to a substitution of the fraternities of priesthoods for simple
clan ancestor worship. The elaborate character of ceremonial
paraphernalia may likewise be due to acculturation,[65] which increases
in complication with the lapse of time.

[Footnote 65: For instance, the complicated reredos of many of the
modern Hopi altars is made of flat wooden slabs, the manufacture of
which would be very difficult for a people ignorant of iron. These
probably replaced painted stone slabs of simpler character, examples of
which have been found in ruins and indeed still survive in some of the
oldest rites.]


The stone implements from Cliff Palace consist of axes, mauls, paint
grinders, pecking stones, metates, balls, flakes, spear and arrow
points, and various other articles (pls. 20-22). There is great
uniformity in these implements, the axes, for instance, being generally
single edged, although a good specimen of double-edged hatchet is in the
collection. A fragment of the peculiar stone implement called
_tcamahia_[66] by the Hopi was found.

[Footnote 66: This object probably came from near Tokónabi, the ancient
home of the Snake people of Walpi, on San Juan river. Fourteen of these
tcamahias form part of the Antelope altar in the Snake Dance at Walpi.]

While as a rule the hatchets are without handles, one specimen (pl. 20)
is exceptional in this particular. The handle of this hatchet from Cliff
Palace, like that from Spruce-tree House, elsewhere described, is a
stick bent in a loop around the stone head.


Anyone who will examine the amount of stone-cutting necessary to lower
the floor of kiva V, for instance, to its present depth, or to peck away
the projecting rock in some of the other kivas, will realize at once
that the Cliff Palace people were industrious stone workers. A number of
the pounding stones (pl. 22, _a_) with which this work was done have been
found. These stones are cubical in form, or rounded or pointed at one
end or both ends, and provided with two or more pits on the sides. They
were evidently held directly in the hand and used without handles.
Although generally small, they sometimes are of considerable size. The
stone of which they are made is foreign to the vicinity; it is hard, as
would be absolutely necessary to be effectual in the use to which they
were put.


The most common variety of grinding stones is, of course, the metate, or
mill-stone, used in grinding corn. These implements have a variety of
forms. They may be flat above and rounded below, or flat on both sides,
triangular on each face, or simply convex on each side. None of them
have feet like the Mexican metates. The stone with which the grinding
was done, or the one held in the hand, also varies in shape, size, and
evidences of use.[67] Stones with a depression in one face served as
mortars. A stone in the form of a pestle, flat on the end, served as a
paint grinder. Several flat stones with smooth surface, showing the
effect of grinding, and others with slight concavities, undoubtedly
served the same purpose. Smooth stones showing grinding on one or more
faces were evidently the implements with which the builders smoothed the
walls of the houses after the masonry had been laid; others were used in
polishing pottery.

[Footnote 67: At several places on the surfaces of projecting rocks
forming the foundations of buildings may be noticed grooves where
metates were sharpened. One or more of these occur at the entrance to
the "street" in front of room 51. The foundation of a wall in one room
was built directly upon one of these grooves, part of the groove being
in sight, the rest covered with masonry. Near room 92 there are many of
these grooves as well as small pits.]


Many stone balls, large or small, were found. Some of these show
chipping, others are ground smooth. Certain of these balls were
evidently used in a game popular at Cliff Palace, in which they were
rolled or dropped into deep pits and grooves. It appears that this game
was played by occupants of the sacred rooms, as the pits are common in
the kiva floors. Other stone balls were formerly tied to the end of a
handle with a thong of hide and used as a weapon.

[Illustration: PLATE 30


[Illustration: PLATE 31


[Illustration: PLATE 32


A half oval stone, smooth and flat at one pole, is supposed to have been
an idol, possibly the earth goddess, who is repeatedly represented by
the Hopi in a similar way. It was left near where it was found at the
northwest corner of kiva H. Our masons used rectangular slabs of soft
stone, which were doubtless door-closes, as mortar boards. They were
held in place in the door opening by jambs made of mortar laid on
sticks, and by a horizontal rod which passed between two osier eyelets
set in the uprights of the door-frame and projecting from it. These
stone doors were sometimes held in place by a groove cut in the
threshold or by a ledge of adobe.

Two thin, flat, circular stone disks (pl. 22, _c_), with smooth surfaces
and square edges, accompanied the calcined human bones in the inclosure
at the northern end of the large refuse heap. It is probable that some
of these disks were used as covers for mortuary vases. Irregularly
shaped flat stones with pits and incised figures pecked in their surface
were used in a game, and a slab covered with incised figures but without
the pits (pl. 23, _c_) probably served a similar purpose.

Several large stones, which the builders of Cliff Palace had begun to
dress and had later rejected, show the method adopted by them in cutting
stones the required size. When stones were found to be too large to be
laid, or had projections that interfered with the required shape, a
groove was pecked where the fracture was desired and the stone broken
along the groove.


No ruin in the Mesa Verde National Park has yielded more specimens of
pottery than Cliff Palace, many pieces of which are preserved in various
museums in Colorado and elsewhere. The collection gathered by the writer
was small compared with some of these, and although only a few whole
pieces were found, by restoration from fragments a fair number of
specimens, ample perhaps for generalization, were procured. In the
following mention of the pottery obtained from the ruin a very
comprehensive idea of the perfection in the ceramic art attained in
Cliff Palace can hardly be hoped.

Southwestern pottery may be divided into two types, so far as
superficial appearance goes: (1) coiled or indented undecorated ware;
(2) smooth polished ware. Of the latter there are two sub-types: (_a_)
pottery with a surface slip, generally white, on which designs are
painted, and (_b_) decorated pottery without a superficial slip, and
generally reddish in color. Cliff Palace pottery, when decorated,
belongs to the last two divisions, but some of the best made specimens
belong to the coiled or indented type. Although there are several
fragments of red pottery ornamented with designs painted in black, and
one or two specimens in which the basal color is orange, the majority of
the specimens belong to the so-called black-and-white ware, which may
therefore be called a type of this region.

The whole pieces of pottery collected were chiefly mortuary vessels, and
probably contained food offerings, indicating, like the sipapûs in the
kivas, that the cliff-dwellers had a distinct conception of a future
life. In addition to the limited number of pieces of unbroken pottery,
many of the fragments were decorated with novel patterns. Fragments of
corrugated and indented ware are by far the most numerous, but although
many of these were obtained, not a whole piece was found, with the
exception of a single specimen plastered in a fire-hole and three others
similarly fixed in the banquettes of kivas. These were left as they were

The same forms of pottery, as dippers, ladles, vases, canteens, jars,
and similar objects, occur at Cliff Palace as at Spruce-tree House (pl.
23-27). All varieties were repeatedly found, some with old cracks that
had been mended, and one is still tied with the yucca cord with which it
had been repaired. It is evident from the frequency with which the Cliff
Palace people mended their old pottery that they prized the old vessels
and were very careful to preserve them, being loth to abandon even a
cracked jar (pl. 23, _d_). None of the Cliff Palace pottery is
glazed.[68] Some specimens of smooth pottery are coarse in texture and
without decoration; others have elaborate geometrical figures; but
animate objects are confined almost entirely to a few pictures of birds
or other animals and rudely drawn human figures. The pictography of the
pottery affords scant data bearing on the interpretation of the ancient
symbolism of the inhabitants, as compared with that of Sikyatki, for
example, in the Hopi country.

[Footnote 68: The first description of "glazed" pottery in the Pueblo
region is given by Castañeda (1540), who says: "Throughout this province
[Tiguex] are found glazed pottery and vessels truly remarkable both in
shape and execution." This has sometimes been interpreted to mean the
glossy but unglazed pottery of Santa Clara. Glazed pottery was found by
the writer in 1896 in ruins on the Little Colorado. It appears to be
intrusive in the Arizona ruins.]

_Food bowls._--In form the food bowls[69] from Cliff Palace (pls. 23-25)
are the same as those from other prehistoric sites of the Southwest, but
as a rule the Cliff Palace bowls are smaller than those of Sikyatki and
the ruins on the Little Colorado. They have, as a rule, a thicker lip,
which is square across instead of tapering to a thin edge or flaring, as
is sometimes the case elsewhere. The surface, inside and out, is
commonly very smooth, even glossy. The pottery was built up by coiling
the clay, and the colors were made permanent by the firing.

[Footnote 69: Food bowls with handles, so common to the ruins of
northern Arizona, were not found at Cliff Palace.]

The basis of the study of symbolism was of course the pottery
decoration. As a rule the center of the inside of the food bowls is
plain, but several have this portion ornamented with squares, triangles,
and other figures. The outside of several bowls from Cliff Palace and
Spruce-tree House is decorated, notwithstanding Nordenskiöld speaks of
exterior decoration as rare in his collections from the Mesa Verde. The
geometric ornaments consist of rectangular figures.[70]

[Footnote 70: No curved lines are present in the many examples of
decoration on the outside of food bowls from Sikyatki.]

_Mugs._--Some authors have questioned whether the prehistoric people of
the Southwest were familiar with this form of pottery. The collections
from Cliff Palace (pl. 24-26) and Spruce-tree House set at rest any
reasonable doubt on this point. There are, however, peculiarities in the
form of mugs from Mesa Verde. The diameter of the base is generally
larger, tapering gently toward the mouth, and one end of the handle is
rarely affixed to the rim. The inside of the mug is not usually
decorated, but the exterior bears geometrical designs in which terraces,
triangles, and parallel lines predominate. Curved lines are rare, and
spirals are absent. Mugs with two handles are unrepresented. There are
no ladles in the collection, but several broken handles of ladles were
found in the refuse. One of these is decorated with a series of
parallel, longitudinal, and transverse lines, a design as widely spread
as Pueblo pottery, extending across the boundary into Mexico.

_Globular Vessels._--The globular form of pottery was used for carrying
water and seems to have been common at Cliff Palace. One of these
vessels (pl. 25, _b_) has a small neck, and attached to it are two
eyelets for insertion of the thong by which it was carried. Some of the
globular vessels (pl. 25, _a_) have the neck small, the orifice wide,
and the lip perforated with holes for strings. Double-lipped globular
vessels, having a groove like that of a teapot, have been found in Cliff
Palace as well as in other ruins of Mesa Verde and Montezuma canyon. The
rims of these are generally perforated, as if for the insertion of
thongs to facilitate carrying. The bottoms of these vessels are rarely
concave. They are sometimes decorated on the outside, but never on the

_Vases._--Small vases with contracted neck and lip slightly curved, and
larger vases with the same characters, occur sparingly. These (pls. 26,
27, _b_) are decorated on the exterior in geometrical designs; the
interior is plain. The bases are rounded, sometimes flat, and in rare
instances concave.

_Disks._--Among pottery objects should be mentioned certain disks, some
large, others small, some perforated in the middle, others imperforate.
Several are decorated. These disks served as covers for bowls, and
similar disks were employed as counters in games or as spindle whorls.
None of the clay disks from Cliff Palace has a central knob or handle
like those from Spruce-tree House.


In the report on Spruce-tree House, using pottery as a basis, the
prehistoric culture of the Southwest, including the Gila-Salt area,
which can not strictly be designated Pueblo, has been provisionally
divided into several subcultural areas. Among these are the Hopi, a
specialized modification of the Little Colorado, the Little Colorado
proper, the San Juan, and the Gila-Salt areas.

Cliff Palace pottery symbols are not closely related to those on old
Hopi ware, as typified by the collections from Sikyatki.[71] Neither
Cliff Palace nor Spruce-tree House pottery is closely allied to that of
the Little Colorado, as exemplified by Homolobi ware, but both have a
closer likeness to that from Wukóki, a settlement ascribed to the Snake
clans, situated near Black Falls, not far from Flagstaff, Arizona. As a
rule the symbolism on pottery from the Little Colorado, which includes
that of its upper tributaries, as the Zuñi, Puerco, Leroux, and
Cottonwood washes, is a mixture of all types. This river valley has
exerted a distributing influence in Pueblo migrations, and in its ruins
are found symbols characteristic of many clans, some of which, following
up the tributaries of the Salt and the Gila, have brought Casas Grandes
decorative elements; others, with sources in the northeast, have
contributed designs from an opposite direction. The predominating
directions of ceramic culture migration in this valley have been from
south to north and from west to east.[72]

[Footnote 71: Sikyatki ware is more closely related to that of the
ancient Jemez and Pajarito subarea than to that made by the Snake clans
when they lived at Tokónabi, their old home, or at Black Falls shortly
before they arrived at Walpi. Careful study of ancient Walpi pottery
made by the Bear clan before the arrival of the Snake clans shows great
similarity to Sikyatki pottery, and the same holds regarding the ware
from old Shongopovi.]

[Footnote 72: In the ruins found on the banks of the Little Colorado at
Black Falls, the predominating influence, as shown by pottery symbols,
has been from the north. It is known from legends that Wukóki was
settled by clans from the north, the close likeness to the symbols of
the San Juan valley supporting traditions still current at Walpi.]

The relation of Cliff Palace pottery designs to the symbolism or
decorative motives characteristic of the Gila valley ruins is remote.
Several geometrical patterns are common to all areas of the Southwest,
but specialized features characterize each of these areas. The pottery
from Cliff Palace finds its nearest relation throughout the upper San
Juan region; the most distant to that of ruins in northern Arizona near
Colorado Grande.[73]

[Footnote 73: A thorough comparative study of Pueblo pottery symbolism
is much restricted on account of lack of material from all ceramic
culture areas of the Southwest. It is likewise made difficult by a
mixture of types produced by the migration of clans from one area to
another. The subject is capable of scientific treatment, but at present
is most difficult of analysis.]


The symbols on the Cliff Palace pottery are reducible to rectangular
geometrical figures; life forms, with the rare exceptions noted above,
are not represented, and the exceptional examples are crude. Contrast
this condition with the pottery from Sikyatki, where three-fourths of
the decorations are life designs, as figures of men or animals, many of
which are highly symbolic. The "sky band" with hanging bird design,
peculiar to old Hopi ware, was unknown to Cliff Palace potters.
Encircling lines are unbroken, no specimen being found with the break so
common to the pottery from the Hopi, Little Colorado, Gila, and Jemez
subareas. The designs on food bowls are often accompanied with marginal
dots. No example of the conventionalized "breath-feather" so common in
Sikyatki pottery decoration occurs. Spattering with color was not

An analysis of the pottery decorations shows that the dominant forms may
be reduced to a few types, of which the terrace, the spiral, the
triangle, and the cross in its various forms are the most common.

Various forms and sizes of triangles, singly or in combination,
constitute one of the most constant devices used by the cliff-dwellers
of the Mesa Verde in the decoration of their pottery. It is common to
find two series of triangles arranged on parallel lines. When the
component triangles are right-angled they sometimes alternate with each
other, forming a zigzag which may be sinistral or dextral. This design
may be called an alternate right-angular figure.

If instead of two parallel series of right-angle triangles there are
isosceles triangles, they may be known as alternate isosceles triangles.
These triangles, when opposite, form a series of hour-glass figures or
squares. This form is commonly accompanied by a row of dots, affixed to
top and base, known as the dotted square or hour-glass figure.
Hour-glass designs are commonly represented upright, but the angles of
the triangles may be so placed that the series is horizontal, forming a
continuous chain. Often the bases of these serially arrayed hour-glass
figures are separated by rows of dots or by blank spaces.

A row of triangles, each so placed that the angles touch the middles of
the sides of others in the same series, form an arc called linear
triangles. The St. Andrews cross, which occurs sparingly on Mesa Verde
pottery, is formed by joining the vertical angles of four isosceles

The cross and the various forms of the familiar swastika also occur on
Cliff Palace pottery. The star symbol, made up of four squares so
arranged as to leave a space in the middle, is yet to be found in Mesa
Verde. Parallel curved lines, crooked at the end or combined with
triangles and squares, occur commonly in the pottery decoration of
Cliff Palace. S-shaped figures are known. Rectangles or triangles with
dots, or even a line of dots alone, are not rare in the decoration. No
designs representing leaves or flowers occur on pottery from Cliff
Palace, nor has the spider-web pattern been found. The most common
geometrical decorations are the stepped or terraced figures, generally
called rain-clouds.


Among the objects found in the refuse heaps of Cliff Palace are rings,
about 6 inches in diameter, woven of corn husks or cedar bark bound
together with fiber of yucca or other plants. These rings (pl. 28) were
evidently used as supports for earthenware vases, the bases of which are
generally rounded, so that otherwise they would not stand upright.
Similar rings may have been used by the women in carrying jars of water
on their heads,[74] as among the Zuñi of to-day. Some of these rings may
have been used in what is called the "ring and dart" game, which is
often ceremonial in nature. The best made of all these objects, found by
Mr. Fuller on his visit to a neighboring canyon, is shown in the
accompanying illustration (pl. 28, _b_). The specimen is made of tightly
woven corn husks, around which the fiber is gathered so as to form an
equatorial ridge rarely present in these objects.

[Footnote 74: The Hopi use large clay canteens for this purpose, no
vessels resembling which, whole or in fragments, have been found at
Cliff Palace.]


A few instructive specimens of basketry or wicker ware were exhumed at
Cliff Palace. One of the most interesting of these is the unfinished
plaque shown in the accompanying figure 2.

One specimen of basketry (pl. 29) has the form of a hopper; its whole
central part was purposely omitted, but the basket is finished on the
inner and outer margins. It recalls a basket used by the Ute and other
Shoshonean Indians, but it is different in form from any figured in
Nordenskiöld's work, and, so far as the author is acquainted with other
specimens of basketry from Mesa Verde ruins, is unique. It is supposed
that when used this hopper was placed on a flat or rounded stone and
that corn or other seeds to be pounded were placed in it, the stone thus
forming the surface upon which the seeds were treated, and the sides of
the basket serving to retain the meal.


The sandals found at Cliff Palace (pls. 30-32) are practically the same
in form, material, and weave as those recorded from Spruce-tree House.
The shape of these, however, is particularly instructive, as it appears
to shed light on the meaning of certain flat stones, rare in
cliff-dwellings, called "sandal lasts." These stones, one of which is
figured in the report on Spruce-tree House, are rectangular, flat, thin,
smooth, with rounded corners, and sometimes have a notch in the rim at
one end. The exceptionally formed sandal from Cliff Palace (pl. 32) is
similar in shape and has a notch identical with that of the
problematical stone objects, supporting the theory that the latter were
used as sandal lasts, as interpreted by several authors.

[Illustration: PLATE 33

_a_ Billet

_b_ Objects used in game

_c_ Billet


[Illustration: FIG. 2.--Coil of basket plaque.]

The sandals are ordinarily made of plaited yucca leaves, their upper
side being sometimes covered with corn leaves for protection of the
feet. The thongs that passed between the toes are made either of yucca
or other vegetable fiber, or of hide.


There are several objects made of wood in the collection from Cliff
Palace, some of the least problematical of which are long, pointed rods
(fig. 3) with which the ancients probably made the holes in which they
planted corn, in much the same way as the Hopi plant at the present day.
These implements are commonly pointed at the end, but one or two are
broadened and flattened. No example of the spatular variety of dibble
found by others, and none showing the point of attachment of a flat
stone blade, occurs in the collection. One or two short broken sticks,
having a knob cut on the unbroken end, are interpreted as handles of
weapons--a use that is not definitely proven. There are several sticks
that evidently were used for barring windows or for holding stone
door-closes in place.

Among problematical wooden objects may be mentioned billets (pl. 33),
flattened on one side and rounded at each end. Two of these were found,
with calcined human bones, in the inclosure used for cremation of the
dead, situated at the northern end of the large refuse heap. These, like
the bowls with which they were associated, were coated with a white
salt-like deposit. None of the many wooden objects figured by
Nordenskiöld are exactly the same as those above mentioned, although the
one shown in his plate XLIII, figure 17, is very close in form and size.

Several bent twigs or loops of flexible wood from the refuse heaps were
found; these are supposed to have been inserted in the masonry, one on
each side of door and window openings, to hold in place the stick which
served as a bolt for fastening the door or window stone in position.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--Planting sticks.]

Bent sticks, of dumb-bell shape, having a knob at each end (pl. 33,
_b_), are believed to have been used in games. A similar object from the
Mancos region is figured by Mr. Stewart Culin in his account of the
games of the cliff-dwellers.[75] The ancient people of the semi-deserts
of Atacama, in South America, employed a similar but larger stick, to
which cords were attached for strapping bundles on their beasts of

[Footnote 75: _Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of American


A small pointed stone attached with fiber to the end of a stick, similar
to those found by Nordenskiöld in ruin 9 and at Long House, was found.

The Cliff Palace people kindled fire by means of the fire-drill and
fire-stick (hearth), a specimen of which, similar to one collected at
Spruce-tree House, is contained in the collection. Both of these
fire-making implements were broken when found, apparently thrown away on
that account either by the original people or by subsequent visitors.


Many bone implements (pl. 34, 35) were found during the excavation of
Cliff Palace. They are of the bones of birds and small mammals, or, now
and then, of those of antelope or bear, the latter furnishing the best
material for large scrapers. These implements were evidently sharpened
by rubbing on the stones of walls or on the face of the cliff, as
grooves, apparently made in this way, are there visible in several
places. Scratches made in shaping or sharpening bones, repeatedly found
on the masonry of Cliff Palace, are not peculiar, resembling those
referred to in the report on Spruce-tree House. A small tube with a hole
midway of its length doubtless served as a whistle, similar instruments
being still often used in Hopi ceremonies to imitate the calls of birds.

[Illustration: PLATE 34


Sections of bones were found tied in pairs, and while it is not clear
that these were threaded on a cord and worn as necklaces or armlets, as
Nordenskiöld suggests, they may have been tied side by side, forming a
kind of breastplate not unlike that used by the Plains tribes. In a room
of Spruce-tree House, according to Nordenskiöld, eight similar pieces of
bone were found strung on a fine thong of tide.

Among other bone objects there is one, of unknown use, about an inch
long and one-fourth of an inch in diameter, nearly cylindrical in shape.
A bone with a hole in one end, similar to those figured by Nordenskiöld,
forms part of the collection.


The single specimen of turquoise found at Cliff Palace was probably an
ear pendant, and a black jet bead was apparently used for the same
purpose. With the polished cylinder of hematite found one can still
paint the face or body a reddish color, as the Hopi do with a similar
object. From the sipapû of kiva D there was taken a small deerskin bag,
tied with yucca fiber and containing a material resembling iron pyrites,
evidently an offering of some kind to the gods of the underworld.

A button made of lignite, and beads of the same material, were found in
the refuse heap in front of the ruin after a heavy rain. The former is
broken, but it resembles that found at Spruce-tree House, although it is
not so finely made, and also one from Homólobi, a ruin on the Little
Colorado, near Winslow, Arizona.


The cobs and seeds of corn, squash and pumpkin seeds, beans, and
fragments of gourds give some idea of the vegetable products known to
the Cliff Palace people. Corn furnished the most important food of the
people, and its dried leaves, stalks, and tassels were abundant in all
parts of their refuse heaps. Naturally, in a cave where many small
rodents have lived for years, it is rare to find seed corn above ground
that has not been appropriated by these animals, and in the dry,
alkaline bone-phosphate dust edible corn is not very common, although
now and then occurs a cob; with attached seeds. The corn of Cliff
Palace, already figured by Nordenskiöld, resembles that still cultivated
by some of the Hopi.


The Cliff Palace people manufactured fairly good cloth, the component
cords or strings being of two or three strands and well twisted. So
finely made and durable are some of these cords that they might be
mistaken for white men's work; some of them, however, are very coarse,
and are tied in hanks. Among varieties of cords, may be mentioned those
wound with feathers, from which textiles, ordinarily called "feather
cloth," was made. Yucca and cotton were employed in the manufacture of
almost all kinds of fabrics. A few fragments of netting were found.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--Woven forehead band.]

The finest cloth was manufactured from cotton, a good specimen, of
which, showing a pattern woven in different colors, is contained in the

Several woven belts, and also a head-band similar to that figured in the
report on Spruce-tree House, were uncovered by the excavations.

The largest fragment of cloth was taken out of the crematory, or
inclosure containing the calcined human bones, at the northern end of
the larger refuse heap. It appears to have been a portion of a bag, or
possibly of a head covering, but it is so fragmentary that its true use
is unknown. The pattern is woven in darker colored threads, with a
selvage at two ends. The material out of which it was made has not been
definitely determined, but it closely resembles that of the specimen
figured by Nordenskiöld (plate L) from Mug House. Our excavations were
rewarded with a fine woven head-band with loops at the ends (fig. 4),
similar to that described and figured in the report on Spruce-tree
House. Several small fragments of cloth were recovered from the refuse
heap, but none of them was large enough to indicate the form of the
garment to which they originally belonged.

[Illustration: PLATE 35


In the group of fabrics may be included nets and cloth with feathers
wound around warp and woof, similar to those figured from Spruce-tree

There were several specimens of yucca strings, tied in loops, generally
six in number, which presumably were devoted to the same purpose as by
the present Hopi, who attach to the string six ears of corn,
representing the cardinal points on the six-directions altar, and hang
them on the walls of a priest's house. If the cliff-dwellers used this
string for a similar purpose, it would appear that they, like the Hopi,
recognized six cardinal points--north, west, south, east, above, and
below--and worshiped gods of these directions, to which they erected

[Footnote 76: For a Hopi six-directions altar, see _Journal of American
Ethnology and Archæology_, Vol. II, 1892.]


As has been seen, there were two methods of disposing of the dead--by
inhumation and by cremation. The former may have been either house
burial or burial in the refuse heaps in the rear of the buildings. With
both forms of disposing of the dead mortuary food offerings were found.
Evidences of prehistoric burials and cremation were found both on the
mesa above Cliff Palace and in the ruin.[77]

[Footnote 77: The house burials appear to have been mainly those of
priests or other important personages.]

The practice of cremation among the cliff-dwellers has long been known.
Nordenskiöld writes (p. 49):

     That cremation, however, was sometimes practiced by the Cliff
     Dwellers seems probable from the fact that Richard Wetherill
     observed in the same ruin, when the above-mentioned burial
     chamber was found, bodies which had apparently been burnt,
     together with the pottery belonging to the dead.

The evidences of cremation found in the inclosure at the northern end of
the refuse space of Cliff Palace is conclusive. The calcined bones
uncovered here were also accompanied with mortuary pottery, cloth, and
wooden objects.

The flexed position of the bodies of the dead occurs constantly in the
earth burials, which may be explained by the almost universal belief
among primitive people that when the body is returned to "mother earth"
it should be placed in the posture it normally had before birth. In
house burials at Spruce-tree House the bodies were sometimes extended at
full length, which may be interpreted to mean that the dead were not
returned to the earth mother. There was no uniformity of posture in the
burials at Cliff Palace.

The work at Cliff Palace was undertaken at too late a day to recover any
mummified human remains, all having been previously removed.
Nordenskiöld's figures and descriptions of desiccated human bodies from
other Mesa Verde cliff-dwellings would apply, in a measure, to those
from Cliff Palace.


While the work of excavation and repair of Cliff Palace described in the
preceding pages adds nothing distinctly new to existing knowledge of
cliff-dweller culture, it renders a more comprehensive idea of the
conditions of life in one of the largest of these interesting ancient
settlements in our Southwest. Of all the questions that present
themselves after a work of this kind, perhaps the most important, from a
scientific point of view, is, What relation exists between the culture
of Cliff Palace and that of the neighboring pueblos? Directly across the
canyon, in full view of Cliff Palace, there is a typical pueblo ruin,
almost identical in character with many others scattered throughout the
Southwest, some of which are known to have been inhabited in historic
times by ancestors of Pueblo peoples still living. The contribution here
made to the knowledge of cliff-dwelling culture will, it is hoped, shed
light on the question, In what way are the cliff-dwellers and the
Pueblos related?

The relationship in culture of the former people of Cliff Palace to
those of the large pueblo ruin on the mesa across the canyon is most
instructive. How were the inhabitants of these two settlements related;
and were the two sites inhabited simultaneously, or is the pueblo ruin
older than Cliff Palace? So far as the culture of the inhabitants of the
two is known (and knowledge of the pueblo is scant), the two settlements
were synchronously inhabited, but nothing in them gives indication of
the period of their occupancy. These questions can be settled only by
the excavation of this pueblo or of some similar ruin on the
plateau.[78] Nordenskiöld, with the data possessed by him, did not
hesitate to express decided views on this point:

[Footnote 78: A true comparison of the mesa habitation and the
cliff-dwelling can be made only by renewed work on the former, which is
now little more than a huge pile of fallen walls. Present indications
show a greater antiquity of the mesa ruin, the site of which afforded
more adequate protection. On this supposition the mesa ruins would be
considered older than the cliff ruins, and those of the valley the most
ancient. If the ruins in Montezuma valley are the oldest, we can not
suppose that the culture originated in the cliffs and spread to the
valley. The circular subterranean kiva bears indication of having
originated in valleys rather than in caverns. Nordenskiöld does not
mention the large ruin on the bluff west of Cliff Palace.]

     We are forced to conclude that they [cliff-houses] were
     abandoned later than the villages on the mesa. Some features,
     for example, the superposition of walls constructed with the
     greatest proficiency on others built in a more primitive
     fashion (see plate XIII) indicate that the cliff-dwellings have
     been inhabited at two different periods. They were first
     abandoned, and had partly fallen into ruin, but were
     subsequently repeopled, new walls being now erected on the
     ruins of the old. The best explanation hereof seems to be the
     following: On the plateaux and in the valleys the Pueblo tribes
     attained their widest distribution and their highest
     development. The numerous villages at no great distance from
     each other were strong enough to defy their hostile neighbors.
     But afterwards, from causes difficult of elucidation, a period
     of decay set in, the number and population of the villages
     gradually decreased, and the inhabitants were again compelled
     to take refuge in the remote fastnesses. Here the people of the
     Mesa Verde finally succumbed to their enemies. The memory of
     their last struggle is preserved by the numerous human bones
     found in many places, strewn among the ruined cliff-dwellings.
     These human remains occur in situations where it is impossible
     to assume that they have been interred.

Closely connected with the relative age and the identity of the Mesa
Verde cliff-house and pueblo culture are the age and relationship of
different cliff-houses of the same region, for example, Cliff Palace and
Spruce-tree House. The relative number of kivas may shed light on this

The relative proportion of the number of kivas to secular houses varies
in Cliff Palace and Spruce-tree House. In the former there are about 7
secular rooms to every kiva; in the latter about 15. Long House has a
still more marked difference, there being here only a few secular houses
and a maximum number of kivas. Whether this variation has any meaning it
is impossible to say definitely; theoretically, as compared with modern
pueblos, the proportionately larger number of kivas points to a
sociological condition in Cliff Palace characteristic of more primitive
times. The larger the number of kivas relatively to secular rooms the
older the ruin. Long House would be regarded as older than Cliff Palace,
and Cliff Palace older than Spruce-tree House, Balcony House being the
most modern and the last of the four to be deserted. A cliff-dwelling
with a kiva but without secular rooms is rare, and one with secular
rooms but without kivas is likewise unusual. Where the latter exists it
is so situated as to indicate that it was subordinated to neighboring
large cliff-dwellings.

The relative number of circular kivas in ruins and in modern inhabited
pueblos where the circular form of room is found is larger in the ruins
than in the inhabited pueblos. The proportionate number of circular
rooms to secular rooms in cliff-dwellings of the Mesa Verde is also
larger than in pueblo ruins like those of the Chaco. Apparently the
older the pueblo the greater the relative number of kivas. If, as is
suspected, a larger number of kivas indicates relatively greater age,
the explanation may be sought in the amalgamation of clans and the
development of religious fraternities. Hypothetically, in early days
each clan had its own men's room, or kiva, but when clans were united by
marriage and secret ceremonies were no longer limited to individual
clans, the participants belonging to several clans, a religious
fraternity was developed and several clan kivas consolidated or were
enlarged into fraternity kivas such as we find among the Hopi and other

From a study of kivas the conclusion is that Spruce-tree House is more
modern than Cliff Palace. This conclusion is borne out also by the fact
that the water supply at Spruce-tree House is more abundant than that at
Cliff Palace.

In one or two architectural features Cliff Palace is unique, although
sharing with other cliff-houses of the Mesa Verde National Park many
minor characters. The first difference between Cliff Palace and
Spruce-tree House, outside of the disparity in their size and the
relatively large proportion of secular to ceremonial rooms in the
latter, is the existence in the former of terraces and retaining walls.
Spruce-tree House is built on one level, above which rise the secular
houses while below are the ceremonial rooms or kivas. The contrast of
this simple condition with that of Cliff Palace, with its three terraces
and the complicated front wall at several levels thereby necessitated,
is apparent.

There are several other ruins in the Mesa Verde Park in which the
configuration of the rear of the cave led to the construction of the
cliff-house in terrace form. This is well exemplified in the Spring
House, where buildings on an upper level occupy much the same relation
to those below as the ledge houses to the main ruin, and in ruins in the
Canyon de Chelly, like those in Mummy Cave, where this relation of the
buildings on the ledge to those on top of the talus is even more
pronounced. Architectural features in cliff-houses are due to the
geological structure of the cave in which they are situated rather than
to cultural differences.

Nothing was found to indicate that Cliff Palace was inhabited during the
historic period. The inhabitants were not acquainted with metals brought
by white men to the Southwest. The absence of glass and of glazed
pottery is also significant. No sheep, horses, or other beasts of burden
paid them tribute. In fact, there is no evidence that they had ever
heard of white men. These ruins belong to the stone age in America and
show no evidence of white man's culture.

Except that it is prehistoric, the period at which Cliff Palace was
inhabited is therefore largely a matter for archeological investigation
to determine, and thus far no decisive evidence bearing on that point
has been produced. It has been held that Cliff Palace is five hundred
years old, and some writers have added five centuries to this guess; but
the nature of the evidence on which this extreme antiquity is ascribed
to the ruin is not warranted by the evidence available.

No additional information was obtained bearing on current theories of
the causes that led the ancient occupants of the Mesa Verde
cliff-dwellings to adopt this inhospitable and inconvenient habitat. It
is probable that one and the same cause led to the abandonment of
Spruce-tree House, Cliff Palace, and other Mesa Verde cliff-houses. The
inhabitants of these buildings struggled to gain a livelihood against
their unfavorable environment until a too-exacting nature finally
overcame them. There are no indications that the abandonment of Cliff
Palace was cataclysmic in nature: it seems to have been a gradual
desertion by one clan after another. One of the primary reasons was
change of climate, which caused the water supply to diminish and the
crops to fail; but long before its final desertion many clans abandoned
the place, and drifting from point to point sought home-sites where
water was more abundant. All available data lend weight to a belief that
the cliff-houses of Mesa Verde were not abandoned simultaneously, but
were deserted one by one. Possibly the inhabitants retired to the river
valleys, where water was constant, and later gave up life on the mesa.
But even then the culture was not allowed to continue unmodified by
outside influences. Where the descendants of Cliff Palace now dwell, or
whether they are now extinct, can be determined only by additional

Evidence is rapidly accumulating in support of the theory that the
"cliff-dweller culture" of our Southwest was preceded by a "pit-house
culture," the most prominent feature of which is the small circular or
rectangular rooms, artificially excavated laterally in cliffs or
vertical in the ground, which served this ancient people either as
dwellings or for storage. The side walls of these rooms were supported
in some instances by upright logs, and commonly clay was plastered
directly on the walls of the excavations. The architectural survival of
subterranean rooms exists among the cliff-dwellings in circular
underground kivas, the variations of which are so well illustrated in
Cliff Palace.

In connection with these "pit rooms," which are never large, may be
mentioned the large subterranean artificial excavations found scattered
over the Pueblo area of the Southwest. Such occur in the Gila valley,
and have been reported from the San Juan drainage; they have been
identified as reservoirs and also as kivas. Some of these subterranean
rooms are rightly identified as kivas, but others have architectural
features that render this interpretation improbable. What their function
was and how they are connected with the people who built the smaller
subterranean rooms of the Southwest can be determined only by
excavations and a study of the features of both types.

The most important step that remains to be taken in the scientific study
of the ruins of the Mesa Verde National Park is to discover the relation
of the culture of Cliff Palace to that of the neighboring pueblo. This
will necessitate the scientific excavation and repair of the latter ruin
and a comparison of its major and minor antiquities with those of Cliff
Palace. The age of cliff-dwellings in different parts of the Southwest
undoubtedly varies. Certain Pueblo ruins are older than some
cliff-dwellings, and there are cliff-houses more ancient than Pueblo
ruins. Continued research in the Mesa Verde region will doubtless shed
light on the relative age of Cliff Palace and the great pueblo ruin
opposite it.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

     Obvious minor typographical errors have been corrected

     Footnotes and illustrations have been moved to the end of
     paragraphs so as to not disrupt the flow of the text.

     Variations in hyphenation, word spacing and spelling left as

Changes made are denoted by [square brackets]:

    Pg. 19: "d'un point plus elévé[élevé]"
     "   "  "d'ou[d'où] l'on contemple les ruines"
     "   "  "de grands progrés[progrès] dans l'art"
     "   "  "Les murs sont faits de grés[grès] gris,"

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace - Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 51, Government - Printing Office, Washington, 1911." ***

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