By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Mesa Verde National Park
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mesa Verde National Park" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                               Mesa Verde
                             National Park

                United States Department of the Interior
                      _Harold L. Ickes, Secretary_

                         NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
                      _Arno B. Cammerer, Director_

[Illustration: United States Department of the Interior Logo]

                             UNITED STATES
                       GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
                            WASHINGTON: 1936

                         Rules and Regulations

A complete copy of the rules and regulations for governing the park may
be seen at the office of the superintendent.


  Secure automobile permit, fee $1 per car. Speed limit 35 miles per hour
  on entrance highway, 20 miles per hour in headquarters area and on ruin
  roads. Drive carefully; free wheeling is prohibited within the park.


  Confine fires to designated places. Extinguish completely before
  leaving camp, even for temporary absences. Do not guess your fire is
  out—KNOW IT.


  Use only the wood that is stacked and marked “firewood” near your
  campsite. By all means do not use your ax on any standing tree or strip
  bark from the junipers.


  Burn all combustible rubbish before leaving your camp. Do not throw
  papers, cans, or other refuse on the ground or over the canyon rim. Use
  the incinerators which are placed for this purpose.


  Do not venture away from the headquarters area unless accompanied by a
  guide or after first having secured permission from a duly authorized
  park officer.


  Hunting is prohibited within the park. This area is a sanctuary for all


  Be quiet in camp after others have gone to bed. Many people come here
  for rest.

  _Park Rangers_

  The rangers are here to help and advise you as well as to enforce
  regulations. When in doubt, ask a ranger.

  _Ruins and Structures_

  Do not mark, disturb, or injure in any way the ruins or any of the
  buildings, signs, or other properties within the park.

  _Trees, Flowers, and Animals_

  Do not carve initials upon or pull the bark from any logs or trees.
  Flowers may not be picked unless written permission is obtained from
  the superintendent or park naturalist. Do not harm or frighten any of
  the wild animals or birds within the park. We wish to protect them for
  your enjoyment.


  Register and secure permit at the park entrance. Between travel
  seasons, registration and permit are arranged for at park headquarters.

                        OF HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE

  1st century[1]    The earliest occupation of Cliff Palace cave was
  B. C. or A. D.    probably before, or immediately following, the
                    beginning of the Christian era. These earliest
                    occupants, known to scientists as Basket Makers, were
                    the first agricultural Indians of the Southwest.
  4th to 7th[1]     By the beginning of the fourth century A. D., the
  centuries A. D.   early agriculturists were developing the art of
                    pottery making. Later, their semisubterranean homes
                    were spread widely over the Mesa Verde.
  7th to 10th[1]    During the three or four centuries preceding 1000 A.
  centuries A. D.   D., the Pueblo Culture on Mesa Verde was developing
                    from modest beginnings toward its classical stage,
                    which culminated in the building of the great cliff
  1066              Earliest date established for large Mesa Verde cliff
                    dwellings. (Beam section from Mug House.)
  1073-1273         Construction of Cliff Palace.
  1276              Beginning of 23-year drought, an important factor in
                    forcing the Cliff dwellers from the Mesa Verde.
  1776              Expedition of Padre Silvestre Velez de Escalante to
                    southwestern Colorado. Party camped at the base of the
                    Mesa Verde.
  1859              Ascent of the north escarpment of Mesa Verde by Capt.
                    J. N. Macomb, of the United States Army, and members
                    of his party of geologists.
  1874              Discovery of the ruins in the Mancos Canyon by W. H.
                    Jackson, United States Geological Survey. Party
                    attacked by Ute Indians.
  1888              Discovery of Cliff Palace and other major ruins by
                    Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason.
  1891              First organized archeological expedition to Mesa
                    Verde, under direction of Baron G. Nordenskiöld.
  1906              Mesa Verde National Park created June 29.
  1907              Excavation of Spruce Tree House by Dr. J. Walter
                    Fewkes, of Smithsonian Institution.
  1909              Excavation of Cliff Palace.
  1911              Excavation and repair of Balcony House by Jesse L.
  1913              First entrance road completed. First automobile in
                    Spruce Tree Camp. Extension of park boundaries to
                    include notable ruins and archeological remains.
  1914              Construction of first wagon road from Spruce Tree Camp
                    to principal cliff dwellings.
  1915              Sun Temple excavated by Dr. Fewkes.
  1916              Far View House excavated by Dr. Fewkes.
  1917              First Government-constructed trails to Spring House
                    and Soda Canyon.
  1918              First camp accommodations established at Spruce Tree
  1919              Square Tower House excavated.
  1921              Establishment of superintendent’s office and home at
                    Spruce Tree Camp.
  1925              First unit of park museum constructed from donated
  1926              Excavation of Step House Ruin and discovery of very
                    early occupation of cave by Basket Maker III culture
                    predating the cliff dwellers by several hundred years.
  1928              Exclusive jurisdiction of park tendered to the United
                    States and accepted by act of Congress April 25.
  1934              Completion of deep water well (4,192 feet).


  The Ruins                                                             3
      Spruce Tree House                                                 5
      Cliff Palace                                                      8
      Balcony House                                                    11
      Square Tower House                                               12
      Oak Tree House                                                   15
      Sun Set House                                                    15
      Sun Temple                                                       15
      New Fire-House Group                                             19
      Cedar Tree Tower                                                 21
      Far View House, a Mesa Verde Pueblo                              21
      Earth Lodge A                                                    25
      Unexcavated Ruins                                                25
  Dates for Mesa Verde Ruins Established by Tree-Ring Chronology       26
  Discoveries of Recent Years                                          27
  Prehistoric Inhabitants of the Mesa Verde                            28
  Fauna and Flora                                                      32
  How to Reach the Park                                                33
      By Automobile                                                    33
      By Railroad                                                      34
  Motor Transportation                                                 35
  Administration                                                       35
  Educational Service                                                  36
      Guided Trips to the Ruins                                        36
      Camp-fire Talks                                                  37
      Park Museum                                                      37
      Reference Library                                                38
  Free Public Camp Grounds                                             38
  Horseback and Hiking Trips                                           38
  Hospital and Medical Service                                         39
  Accommodations and Expenses                                          39
  References                                                           40

                                What to Do


  3.5 miles—Top of first grade—Mancos Valley and La Plata Mountains.

  5.0 miles—Knife Edge Road—Montezuma Valley and Sleeping Ute Mountain.

  10.5 miles—Scenic road to Park Point, highest elevation within Mesa
  Verde National Park, 8,575 feet above sea level; 2,200 feet above the
  Montezuma Valley. View into four States—Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona,
  and Utah.

  16.0 miles—Pueblo III ruins on top of mesa—Far View House Ruin, Pipe
  Shrine House Ruin, Far View Tower Ruin.

  18.5 miles—Cedar Tree Tower Ruin—road branches off to left.

  20.0 miles—Park headquarters. Park ranger will meet your car and give



  8 a. m.—Earth Lodge A, Square Tower House, Little Long House, Sun
  Point, Fire Temple, Sun Temple. Return 11:15 a. m. Distance 6½ miles.

  10 a. m.—A shortened trip of morning route to accommodate late comers.
  Return 11:15 a. m.

  1:30 p. m.—Cliff Palace, Rim Drive, Balcony House. Return 4:15 p. m.
  Distance 7 miles.

  3 p. m.—A shortened trip of the 1:30 route to accommodate late comers.
  Does not go through Cliff Palace but views this ruin from the top of
  the mesa. Return 4:30 p. m.


  6:30 or 7 p. m.—Time of leaving will vary to arrive at Park Point to
  view colorful sunset. Ranger in charge will discuss the flora, geology,
  and scenic points. Distance 24 miles.

                         CAMPFIRE LECTURE—DAILY

  8 p. m.—In circle at park headquarters. Archeological story of the

  9 p. m.—Ceremonial dance by Navajo Indians.


  Museum—Open from 8 a. m. to 5:30 p. m. A splendid collection of
  material from the cliff ruins and other sections of the Southwest.

  Community building—A display of cut wild flowers. Porch with
  comfortable chairs. View of Spruce Tree Ruin. Open at all times.

  Spruce Tree Ruin—Below park headquarters. May be visited at your
  leisure without guide. Ranger on duty in this ruin for information.

  Nature trail—The path to Spruce Tree Ruin has been prepared with a
  series of signs explaining the flora and rock formations.

  Horseback trips—Splendid trails lead in all directions. Large,
  unexcavated ruins, magnificent canyons and mesas off the beaten path
  unfold the charm of this primitive region. Rates are very reasonable.

  Hikes—To any section of the park can be arranged for with the park
  naturalist. If sufficient numbers enroll for such hikes, a naturalist
  guide will be provided.


  At park headquarters, 20 miles from entrance. Spruce Tree Lodge—Cabins,
  tents, and meals. General store and curios. Free Government camp
  ground. Firewood and water furnished.

                               MESA VERDE
                            _National Park_

                  · SEASON FROM MAY 15 TO OCTOBER 15 ·

The mesa verde, or green mesa, so-called because its juniper and piñon
trees give it a verdant tone, is 15 miles long by 8 miles wide. Rising
abruptly from the valley on the north side, its top slopes gradually
southward to the high cliffs bordering the valley of the Mancos River on
the south. Into this valley open a number of large high-walled canyons
through which occasionally, in times of heavy rain, raging torrents of
water flow into the Mancos. In the shelter of the caves that have been
eroded in the sides of these canyons are some of the best-preserved cliff
dwellings in America, built many centuries ago by a tribe of peace-loving
Indians who prized the security offered by the almost inaccessible caves.
In order to preserve these cliff dwellings Mesa Verde National Park was
created, but they are not the only attractions in the area. In the winter
the park is closed to travel by deep snow, but in the early spring the
blanket of snow is replaced by a mantle of flowers that change with the
seasons, and to the story of the prehistoric inhabitants is added an
absorbing story of nature that is peculiar to this mesa and canyon

“The Mesa Verde region”, writes Arthur Chapman, “has many attractions
besides its ruins. It is a land of weird beauty. The canyons which seam
the mesa, all of which lead toward the distant Mancos River, are, in many
cases, replicas of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. While the summer
days are warm, the nights are cool, and the visitor should bring plenty
of wraps besides the clothing and shoes necessary for the work of
climbing around among the trails. It is a country for active footwork,
just as it was in the days of the cliff dwellers themselves. But when one
has spent a few days among the cedars and piñon pines of the Mesa Verde,
well named Green Table by the Spaniards of early days, he becomes an
enthusiast and will be found among those who return again and again to
this most unique of national parks to study its mysteries and its
beauties from all angles.”

The northern edge of the mesa terminates in a precipitous bluff,
averaging 2,000 feet above the Montezuma Valley. The general slope of the
surface is to the south, and as the main road to the ruins meanders back
and forth in heading each smaller canyon, many times skirting the very
brink of the great northern fault line, tremendous expanses of
diversified terrain are brought into view, first in Colorado and Utah,
then in Arizona and New Mexico.

A new scenic road approximately 1 mile in length branches from the main
highway at a point 8 miles beyond the entrance checking station and
ascends to the crest of Park Point, the highest part of the Mesa Verde
National Park, which attains an elevation of 8,575 feet above sea level.

From this majestic prominence the great Montezuma Valley, dotted with
artificial lakes and fertile fields, appears as from an airplane, while
to the north are seen the Rico Mountains and the Lone Cone of Colorado,
and to the east, the La Plata Mountains. To the west the La Sals, the
Blues, and Bears Ears, of Utah, dominate the horizon. Some of these
landmarks are more than 115 miles distant. Southward numerous deep
canyons, in which the more important cliff dwellings are found, subdivide
the Mesa Verde into many long, narrow, tonguelike mesas. The dark
purplish canyon of the Mancos River is visible in the middle foreground,
and beyond, above the jagged outline of the mesa to the south, the Navajo
Reservation, surrounded by the deep-blue Carrizos of Arizona and the
Lukachukai and Tunichas of New Mexico.

In the midst of this great mountain-enclosed, sandy plain, which, seen
from the mesa, resembles a vast inland sea surrounded by dark, forbidding
mountains, rises Ship Rock (45 miles distant), a great, jagged shaft of
igneous rock, 1,860 feet high, which appears for all the world like a
great “windjammer” under full sail. Toward evening the illusion is

The distance from Park Point to Spruce Tree Camp, the park headquarters,
is 12 miles. The entire road from the park entrance to headquarters, 20
miles, is gravel surfaced and oil treated, full double width, and cars
may pass at any point thereon.

Although there are hundreds of cliff dwellings within the Mesa Verde
National Park, the more important are located in Rock, Long, Wickiup,
Navajo, Spruce, Soda, Moccasin, and tributary canyons. Surface ruins of a
different type are widely distributed over the narrow mesas separating
the numerous canyons. A vast area surrounding the park contains more or
less important ruins of these early inhabitants, most important and
easiest of access from the park being the Aztec Ruins and Chaco Canyon
National Monuments, New Mexico; the Yucca House National Monument,
Colorado; and the Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado-Utah.

[Illustration: Road map of Mesa Verde National Park, showing important
ruins on Chapin Mesa only.]

                               THE RUINS

Although the Spaniards were in the Mesa Verde region as early as 1765 and
the Americans as early as 1859, it was not until 1872 that the first
settlement was made. In that year the Mancos Valley, lying at the foot of
the Mesa Verde, was settled, but because of the fact that the mesa itself
was a stronghold of the warlike Ute Indians, many years passed before the
cliff dwellings were discovered.

[Illustration: Spruce Tree House, a community dwelling of 114 rooms.]

The ruins in the Mancos Canyon were discovered as early as 1874 when W.
H. Jackson, who led a Government party, found there many small dwellings
broken down by the weather. The next year he was followed by Prof. W. H.
Holmes, later chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, who drew
attention to the remarkable stone towers also found in this region. Had
either of the explorers followed up the side canyons of the Mancos they
would have then discovered ruins which, in the words of Baron Gustav
Nordenskiöld, the talented Swedish explorer, are “so magnificent that
they surpass anything of the kind known in the United States.”

The largest cliff ruin, known as Cliff Palace, was discovered by Richard
Wetherill and Charlie Mason while hunting cattle one December day in
1888. Coming to the edge of a small canyon they first caught sight of a
village under the overhanging cliff on the opposite side, placed like a
picture in its rocky frame. In their enthusiasm they thought it was a
palace. With the same enthusiasm the visitors of today involuntarily
express their pleasure and surprise as the spectacle breaks on their
astonished vision.

Later these two men explored this ruin and gave it the name of Cliff
Palace, an unfortunate designation, for it is in no respect a palace, but
a community house, containing over 200 living rooms, former abodes of
families, and 23 ceremonial rooms or kivas. They also discovered other
community dwellings, one of which was called Spruce Tree House, from a
large spruce tree, since cut down, growing in front of it. This had 8
ceremonial rooms and probably housed 300 inhabitants.

The findings of these two ruins did not complete the discoveries of
ancient buildings in the Mesa Verde; many other ruins were found by the
Wetherills, and others who need not now be mentioned. They mark the
oldest and most congested region of the park, but the whole number of
archeological sites may reach into the thousands.

Only a few of the different types of ruins that have already been
excavated and repaired and are now accessible to the visitor are
considered herein. This excavation and repair was the work of the late
Dr. J. Walter Fewkes, formerly chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology,
with the exception of Balcony House, which was done by Jesse L. Nusbaum.
Hundreds of sites await scientific investigation, being accessible now
only on foot or horseback mainly by means of trails.

                           SPRUCE TREE HOUSE

Spruce Tree House, located in a large cave just across Spruce Tree Canyon
from the museum, has been made readily accessible by a short winding
trail. This is the only excavated cliff dwelling in the park that may be
visited without going on a conducted tour, and is open to the public at
all times. A ranger is always on duty to protect the ruin from vandalism
and to give information to the visitors.

                          GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The total length of Spruce Tree House is 216 feet, and its greatest width
is 89 feet. During the excavation of the ruin in 1907, Dr. Fewkes counted
8 ceremonial rooms, or kivas, and 114 rooms that had been used for
living, storage, and other purposes. At least 14 seemed to have been
storage and burial rooms so that probably not more than 100 were used as
dwellings. If it is considered that a family occupied each room, the
population would have been large, but it is doubtful if all of the rooms
were occupied at one time. An average of 2 or 3 persons to the room,
making a total of not more than 300 for the entire village, would no
doubt be a fair estimate.

Two hundred feet north of Spruce Tree House the canyon comes to an abrupt
box end. A splendid spring flows from the base of the sandstone cliff,
and it was to this spring that the cliff-dweller women went for water
carrying it back to their homes in their big water jars. At the south end
of the cave a trail, consisting of small toeholds cut in the cliff, led
to the mesa top above. This trail was used by the men as they went to
their mesa-top fields, where they raised corn, beans, and squash, and by
the hunters as they went in search of deer and mountain sheep that lived
in the forests above.

                              LIVING ROOMS

The rooms of Spruce Tree House are divided into two groups by a court or
street running from the front to the back of the cave, at a point just
south of the center of the village. The majority of the rooms are north
of this street, and some of the walls show the finest work in the entire
structure. The stones were well shaped and smoothed; the mud mortar was
carefully worked into the crevices and compressed with thin stone wedges.
Over many of the walls was spread a thin coat of reddish plaster, often
decorated with paintings. These rooms, standing as when they were
constructed 700 years ago, are mute evidence of the cleverness of the
masons who built them.

Spruce Tree House has more walls that reach the top of the cave than any
other ruin in the park. All through the central part the walls were three
stories high and the top of the cave served as the roof of the upper
rooms. The first- and second-story rooms, however, had their own
ceilings. Heavy rafters, running lengthwise of the rooms, were covered
with a crosswise layer of small poles and withes, and these in turn were
covered with a 3-inch layer of mud. Very often a small hatchway was left
in one corner of the ceiling and a short ladder leaning in the corner of
the lower room gave access to the room above.

Very few of the houses were equipped with fire pits. Most of the cooking
was done in the open courts and the small fire pits can be found along
the walls and in the corners of the courts and passageways.

                       CEREMONIAL ROOMS OR KIVAS

Spruce Tree House has eight of the circular, subterranean rooms that were
set aside for ceremonial purposes. Similar rooms are still in use in the
present day Pueblo Indian villages and are known as kivas.

Usually the kiva roofs have collapsed, but in Square Tower House two
kivas have the original roofs almost intact. Following the plan of these
original roofs, three of the kivas in Spruce Tree House have been
reroofed and upon descending the ladder into one of these the details of
construction may be noted.

Kivas in the Mesa Verde are always underground and are nearly always
circular. The average diameter is 12 to 13 feet and the depth is such
that the roof would clear a man’s head. At a point about 3 feet above the
floor is a narrow ledge running entirely around the room. This ledge is
known as the banquette and its exact use is unknown. On this ledge were
built six stone buttresses or pilasters, and these, rising to within 2 or
3 feet of the top of the kiva, served as roof supports. Short beams were
placed from pilaster to pilaster around the room and a second set of
beams was laid across the angles made by the first set. This was
continued until five or six sets of beams had extended this cribwork
almost to the ground level. Horizontal beams were then placed across the
top and the whole structure was covered with bark and earth. In the
center of the roof a small square hole was left that served as a door and
smoke vent.

On the south side of the kiva the banquette is wider between two of the
pilasters than anywhere else around the room. This deep recess is often
referred to as an altar, although its exact use is not known. Just back
of the wall of this deep recess is a vertical shaft that leads down to
meet a horizontal shaft that opens into the kiva just above the floor.
This is the ventilator shaft. The fire, burning in the small pit in the
center of the room, sent the smoke up through the hole in the roof, and
the fresh air was drawn down through the ventilator shaft. Between the
ventilator and the fire pit a small wall, known as the “deflector”, was
constructed to keep the fresh air current from blowing on the fire.

Two or three feet from the fire pit, and in a straight line with the
ventilator shaft, the deep recess, the deflector and the fire pit is a
small hole in the floor of the kiva. This hole is usually about 3 inches
in diameter and from 4 to 6 inches deep; its walls and bottom often
covered with a smooth layer of mud. In the present day kivas this hole is
known as the “sipapu”, and is considered to be the symbolic entrance to
the underworld. The kiva was a combination ceremonial, club, and workroom
for the men. Even in the present day villages the women are rarely ever
allowed to enter the kivas because of the fact that the men take almost
entire charge of the religious work. It is believed that each clan had
its own kiva, and it will be noted that in almost every case the kiva is
surrounded by a group of living rooms. The members of the clan no doubt
lived in these rooms and the men held their ceremonies in the adjoining
kiva. Two of the kivas in Spruce Tree House have side entrances that lead
to nearby rooms. These rooms may have been the homes of the priests, or
dressing rooms for them.

                           DATE OF OCCUPATION

Twenty-one of the roof beams in Spruce Tree House have been dated by
tree-ring chronology. These dates show that the houses were constructed
during the years between 1230 A. D. and 1274 A. D. In 1276 A. D. a
23-year period of drought began that caused the cliff dwellers to move to
regions where there was a more permanent supply of water. In those same
regions are the homes of the modern Pueblo Indians and no doubt some of
these people are the descendants of the Cliff Dwellers.

                              CLIFF PALACE

Cliff Palace lies in an eastern spur of Cliff Canyon under the roof of an
enormous cave that arches 50 to 100 feet above it. The floor of the cave
is elevated about 200 feet above the bottom of the canyon and is just
under the rim of the mesa. The entrance of the cave faces west, toward a
great promontory upon which stands Sun Temple.

The total length of the cave is over 300 feet and its greatest depth is
just under 100 feet. The vaulted roof is so high that the cave was always
light and airy and offered a perfect home site to the cliff dwellers who
were seeking protection from the elements as well as from their enemies.

Fortunately, the configuration of the cliffs above the ruin makes it
possible to get a fine birdseye view from the rim of the mesa. Views
obtained from the heads of the two trails are most striking and give an
idea of the setting and size of the building before it is entered for
closer inspection. The most spectacular view of Cliff Palace is from Sun
Temple, across the canyon. This is the only spot from which the entire
ruin may be seen.

                              LIVING ROOMS

Cliff Palace is the largest known cliff dwelling. Dr. Fewkes, who
excavated the ruin in 1909, placed the number of living rooms at slightly
more than 200. Very few of the walls reached the top of the cave because
of its great height, but many of the structures were as high as two and
three stories. Near the south end of the ruin is the tallest structure, a
four-story tower that reaches the cave roof. Ground space appropriate for
building purposes was at a premium in the cave. To provide for an
increasing population, second, third, and even fourth-story rooms were
superimposed on the original single-story structures which predominated
in the initial cliff-dweller occupation of this site.

When the cliff dwellers started building in the cave they were confronted
with the problem of an uneven floor. The floor of the cave slanted from
the back to the front and was covered with huge, angular boulders that
had fallen from the cave roof. This problem the cliff dweller solved by
erecting terraces and filling in the irregular places. The open spaces
between the boulders were excellent for kivas, as there was not a great
deal of excavation necessary. After the kiva walls were built the extra
space was filled in with trash and dirt. When the flat kiva roof was
added a level court resulted. Around this court the homes were
constructed, often on the rough surfaces of the big boulders. Because of
the uneven floor and the terracing that was necessary, six distinct
terrace levels resulted.


Twenty-two kivas are located in the cave and another, lying about 50 feet
from the western end, and thought to have been used by men living in the
cave, brings the total to 23. Twenty of these conform to the plan of the
typical Mesa Verde kiva, but three seem to be of a different type. These
three, instead of being round, are square with rounded corners. The
banquette is missing as well as the pilasters or roof supports.

                             STORAGE ROOMS

Because of the fact that the inhabitants of Cliff Palace were forced to
store enough corn each fall to last until the next harvest a great many
storage rooms were constructed. Any small nook or cranny that was too
small for a home was utilized for that purpose. Far back in the cave a
number were constructed of large, thin sandstone slabs. These slabs were
placed on end to form small rectangular rooms, and when the door slabs
were in place and all of the crevices were well chinked with mud the
grain was safe from the rodents. High up under the roof of the cave, at
the back, was a long narrow shelf that was also utilized for storage
space. A wall was built along the front of the ledge, closing it up
completely, and the space back of the wall was divided into 14 small
storage rooms. A ladder on the roof of one of the houses below gave
access to the ledge.


In the third floor room of the four-story tower is the finest painting
yet found in the Mesa Verde. The entire inner surface of the four walls
was covered with bright red designs on a white background. The designs
are similar to those found on cliff-dweller pottery. The white color was
obtained by mixing finely ground gypsum with water to form a smooth
paste; the red was obtained by treating hematite, or red ochre, in the
same manner.

                            THE ROUND TOWER

The outstanding structure in Cliff Palace is the two-story round tower
that stands just south of the center of the cave. Every stone in this
tower is rounded to conform to the curvature of the walls and the
graceful taper toward the top makes it one of the finest examples of
masonry work in the region. When the early explorers first entered this
tower the only object found was the most beautiful stone ax they ever
discovered. Whether this tower was a home or whether it was constructed
for some special purpose can only be conjectured.

                          POSSIBLE POPULATION

Because of the fact that Cliff Palace is the largest of all cliff
dwellings, its population is of special interest. A close inspection of
the rooms in the ruin shows that they are smaller, on the average, than
the rooms in any of the other large cliff dwellings. When judged from our
modern standards, it is difficult to imagine more than a couple of people
living in each one. Our modern ideas, however, will not help us in
understanding the people who once lived in Cliff Palace.

More than anything else the cliff dwellers desired security from their
enemies. Their next desire was safety from the elements. When it is
considered that these were the motivating influences, it can easily be
understood that such minor matters as space and comfort would receive
little consideration. Since the inhabitants were an easy-going,
peace-loving group it can be imagined that crowded living conditions
would not be objectionable. In addition it must be considered that the
rooms were used principally as sleeping quarters. All activities were
carried on in the open courts and on the terraced roof tops. Even the
cooking was done over open fires outside the houses.

An average of two to the room would give a population of 400; an average
of three would place 600 in the cave. If every room were occupied at one
time and if the average of two or three to the room is not too high, it
would seem that a total population of 500 would not be too great for
Cliff Palace.

                             BALCONY HOUSE

Balcony House lies in Soda Canyon about 2½ miles southeast of Spruce Tree
Camp, and is reached by a continuation of the Cliff Palace Road. It is
one of the most picturesque of the accessible ruins in the park and
occupies a better position for defense than most of the other ruins on
the mesa. A few defenders could have repelled a numerous attacking force.
Additional precautions have been taken at the south end of the ruin for
the strengthening of its defenses, where the only means of reaching it is
through a very narrow cleft. The south part of the ledge was walled up to
a height of about 15 feet, the lower part of the wall closing the cleft
being pierced by a narrow tunnel. Through this tunnel a man may creep on
hands and knees from the cliff dwelling to the south part of the ledge,
which affords a footing, with a precipice to the left and the cliff to
the right, for about 100 paces. The ledge here terminates in the
perpendicular wall of the canyon. The ruined walls of a strong tower,
built to cut off approach on this side, may still be traced. At the north
end of the ruin the foundation gave the builders considerable trouble,
but the difficulties were skillfully overcome. A supporting wall was
erected on a lower ledge, to form a stable foundation for the outer wall
of the upper rooms, where the higher ledge was too narrow or too rough
for building purposes.

South of the rooms fronted by this wall is a small open court, bounded at
the back by a few very regular and well-preserved walls which rise to the
roof of the cave. The poles supporting the floors of these upper-story
rooms project about 2 feet to provide support for a balcony. Split poles,
laid parallel with the front wall, were covered at right angles with rods
of cedar bast and generously plastered with clay to form the floor of the
balcony, which served as a means of outside communication between the
rooms of the upper story. A low, thick parapet wall built on the edge of
the precipice encloses the outer side of the northern court.

The funds for the excavation and repair of Balcony House in 1911 were
largely furnished by the Colorado Cliff Dwellers Society, an organization
founded and directed by Mrs. Gilbert McClurg, of Colorado Springs, Colo.,
for the original purpose of stimulating interest in legislation for the
preservation and protection of the prehistoric remains of the Mesa Verde,
which led to the creation of this national park in 1906.

                           SQUARE TOWER HOUSE

Square Tower House is situated in an eastern spur of Navajo Canyon nearly
opposite a great bluff called Echo Cliff. An ancient approach to the ruin
was from the canyon rim. It was used by the natives, but is almost
impassable for white visitors. Foot holes for ascent and descent had been
cut by the Indians in the cliff at a point south of the ruin which
enabled them to reach the level on which the ruin is situated. Along the
top of the talus there runs to the ruins a pathway which splits into an
upper and a lower branch. The former, hugging the cliff, passes through
the “Eye of the Needle”; the latter is lower down on the cliff.

The Square Tower House cave is shallow, its rear perpendicular, with roof
slightly overhanging. At the extreme eastern end of the ruin the vertical
face of the cliff suddenly turns at right angles, forming an angle in
which, high above the main ruin, there still remain walls of rooms. To
these rooms, which are tucked away just under the canyon rim, with only
their front walls visible, the name “Crow’s Nest” is given. One end of a
log, extending from a wall of one of these rooms, rests in a hole cut in
the side of the cliff, a well-known method of cliff-house construction.

Some rooms in Square Tower House were devoted to secular, others to
ceremonial purposes. The former have angular corners; the latter are
circular. The rectangular rooms were constructed above ground; the
circular were subterranean. These rooms do not differ radically from
those of Spruce Tree House and other cliff dwellings. They have similar
windows, door openings, and supports of balconies. There is little
difference in the size of the stones used in the masonry at different
heights. The absence of a cave recess in the rear of the building is
significant, as it allowed the cliff to be used as the back wall of the

Square Tower House measures about 138 feet from its eastern to its
western end. There are no streets or passageways as at Spruce Tree House
and Cliff Palace, and no open spaces except on the kiva roofs. The rooms
are continuous and compactly constructed. Excepting the spaces above the
kivas, the walls are united from one end of the cave to the other. The
foundations of the secular rooms are constructed on two levels, an upper
and a lower. These rooms occupy the intervals between the kivas, never in
front of them.

                               THE TOWER

The tower is, of course, the most conspicuous as well as the most
interesting architectural feature of the ruin, being visible for a long
distance as one approaches Square Tower House. Its foundation rests on a
large boulder situated in the eastern section of the cave floor. This
tower has three walls constructed of masonry, the fourth being the
perpendicular rear wall of the cave. The masonry of the tower stands
about 35 feet above the foundation, but the foundation boulder on which
it stands increases its height over 5 feet.

On a projecting rock on the west side above the tower is the wall of a
small, inaccessible room which may have been used as a lookout or as an
eagle house.

The lowest story of the tower is entered from plaza B, and on the east
side there are three openings, situated one over another, indicating the
first, second, and third stories, but on the south side of the tower
there are only two doorways. The roof of the lowest room is practically
intact, showing good workmanship, but about half of its floor is
destroyed. The upper walls of the second-story room have the original
plaster, reddish dado below and white above. Although the third and
fourth stories are destitute of floors, they are plastered.


Some of the best preserved circular ceremonial chambers (kivas) in the
Southwest are to be seen in Square Tower House. The majority of the kivas
belong to the pure type, distinguished by mural pilasters supporting a
vaulted roof.

Kiva A is particularly instructive on account of the good preservation of
its roof. Its greatest diameter is 13 feet 6 inches; or, measuring inside
the banquettes, 11 feet 1 inch. The interior is well plastered with many
layers of brown plaster. The pilasters are six in number, one of which is
double. Two depressions are visible in the smooth floor, in addition to a
fireplace and a sipapû. These suggest ends of a ladder, but no remains of
a ladder were found in the room.

Kiva B is the largest ceremonial chamber in Square Tower House, measuring
16 feet 9 inches in diameter over all. This kiva is not only one of the
best preserved, but also one of the most instructive in Square Tower
House, since half of the roof, with the original cribbing, is still in
place, extending completely around the periphery. It has six pilasters
and as many banquettes. Where the plaster had not fallen, it was found to
have several layers.

[Illustration: Sun Temple, a mysterious form of ruin.]


The perpendicular cliff back of Square Tower House has several different
forms of incised petroglyphs. From the fact that these usually occur on
the cliff above the kiva roofs, they may be regarded as connected in some
way with a religious symbolism. A few pictographs are also found on
stones set in the walls of the rooms.

                             OAK TREE HOUSE

The ruin formerly called Willow House, but now known as Oak Tree House,
lies on the north side of Fewkes Canyon, in a symmetrical cave and has an
upper and a lower part. The two noteworthy features of Oak Tree House are
the kivas and the remnant of the wall of a circular room made of sticks
plastered with adobe but destitute of stone masonry.

Oak Tree House has seven kivas and may be called a large cliff dwelling.
One of the kivas has a semicircular ground plan with a rectangular room
on the straight side. There are no pilasters or banquettes in this kiva.
The floor of another kiva was almost wholly occupied by a series of
grinding bins, indicating a secondary use. The repair work on Oak Tree
House has not yet been completed, but a small collection of specimens at
one end of the ruin shows the nature of the objects thus far found.

                             SUN SET HOUSE

Looking across Cliff Canyon from Sun Point one can see the fine ruin
called Sun Set House, formerly known as Community House. This ruin, like
many other cliff dwellings, has an upper and a lower house, the former
being relatively larger than is usually the case. Although Sun Set House
is accessible, it has never been excavated.

                               SUN TEMPLE

The cliff houses considered in the preceding pages are habitations. There
are also specialized buildings on the Mesa Verde which were never
inhabited but were used for other purposes. Two of these are supposed to
have been devoted to religious purposes and are known as Sun Temple and
Fire Temple.

Sun Temple is situated west of Cliff Palace, across Cliff Canyon on a
high cliff at the entrance to Fewkes Canyon. Up to the year 1915 the site
of Sun Temple was a mound of earth and stones, all showing artificial
working or the pecking of primitive stone hammers. This mound had a
circular depression in the middle and its surface was covered with trees
and bushes. No high walls projected above the ground nor was there any
intimation of the size or character of the buried building. It was
believed to be a pueblo or communal habitation. Excavation of this mound
brought into view one of the most instructive buildings in the park.

Sun Temple is a type of ruin hitherto unknown in the park. The building
excavated shows the best masonry and is the most mysterious form yet
discovered in a region rich in so many prehistoric remains. Although at
first there was some doubt as to the use of this building, it was early
recognized that it was not constructed for habitation, and it is now
believed that it was intended for the performance of rites and
ceremonies; the first of its type devoted to religious purposes yet
recognized in the Southwest.

The ruin was purposely constructed in a commanding situation in the
neighborhood of large inhabited cliff houses. It sets somewhat back from
the edge of the canyon, but near enough to present a marked object from
all sides, especially the neighboring mesas. It must have presented an
imposing appearance rising on top of a point high above inaccessible,
perpendicular cliffs. No better place could have been chosen for a
religious building in which the inhabitants of many cliff dwellings could
gather and together perform their great ceremonial dramas.

The ground plan of the ruin has the form of the letter D. The building is
in two sections, the larger of which, taken separately, is also D-shaped.
This is considered the original building. The addition enlarging it is
regarded as an annex. The south wall, which is straight and includes both
the original building and the annex, is 131.7 feet long. The ruin is 64
feet wide.

There are about 1,000 feet of walls in the whole building. These walls
average 4 feet in thickness, and are double, enclosing a central core of
rubble and adobe. They are uniformly well made.

The fine masonry, the decorated stones that occur in it, and the unity of
plan stamp Sun Temple as the highest example of Mesa Verde architecture.

The walls were constructed of the sandstone of the neighborhood. Many
stone hammers and pecking stones were found in the vicinity.

                             THE SUN SYMBOL

On the upper surface of a large rock protruding from the base of the
southwest corner of the building a peculiar depression, surrounded by
radiating ridges, was found. To primitive minds, this may have appeared
as a symbol of the sun and, therefore, deemed an object of great
significance, to be protected as a shrine. This natural impression may
have prompted Dr. Fewkes in the naming of this ruin.

                         ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES

There are three circular rooms in Sun Temple which from their form may be
identified as ceremonial in function, technically called kivas. Two of
these, free from other rooms, lie in the plaza that occupies the central
part of the main building, and one is embedded in rooms of the so-called
“annex.” Adjoining the last mentioned, also surrounded by rooms, is a
fourth circular chamber which is not a kiva. This room was found to be
almost completely filled with spalls or broken stones. Possibly this was
the place where the stones were hewn into shape before they were laid in
the walls.

The kiva that is situated in the west section of Sun Temple has a flue
attached to the south side, recalling the typical ventilator of a Mesa
Verde cliff kiva, and there are indications of the same structure in the
two circular chambers in the court. These kivas, however, have no
banquettes or pilasters to support a vaulted roof, and no fragments of
roof beams were found in the excavations made at Sun Temple. East of Sun
Temple, where formerly there was only a mound of stone and earth, there
were found the remains of a circular tower.

Most of the peripheral rooms of Sun Temple open into adjoining rooms, a
few into the central court, but none has external openings. Some of the
rooms are without lateral entrances, as if it were intended to enter them
through a hatch in the roof.

Not only pits indicative of the stone tools by which the stones forming
the masonry of Sun Temple were dressed appear on all the rocks used in
its construction, but likewise many bear incised symbols. Several of
these still remain in the walls of the building; others have been set in
cement near the outer wall of the eastern kiva. It is interesting to
record that some of the stones of which the walls were constructed were
probably quarried on the mesa top not far from the building, but as the
surface of the plateau is now forested, the quarries themselves are
hidden in accumulated soil and are difficult to discover.


Sun Temple is believed to be among the latest constructed of all the
aboriginal buildings in the park, probably contemporary with Balcony
House, Spruce Tree House, and Cliff Palace.

Because of the absence of timbers or roof beams it is impossible to tell
when Sun Temple was begun or how long it took for its construction or
when it was deserted. There are indications that its walls may never have
been completed, and from the amount of fallen stones there can hardly be
a doubt that when it was abandoned they had been carried up in some
places at least 6 feet above their present level. The top of the wall had
been worn down at any rate 6 feet in the interval between the time it was
abandoned and the date of excavation of the mound. No one can tell the
length of this interval in years.

We have, however, knowledge of the lapse of time, because the mound had
accumulated enough soil on its surface to support growth of large trees.
Near the summit of the highest wall in the annex there grew a juniper
tree of great antiquity, alive and vigorous when excavation work was
begun. This tree undoubtedly sprouted after the desertion of the building
and grew after a mound had developed from fallen walls. Its roots
penetrated into the adjacent rooms and derived nourishment from the soil
filling them.

Necessarily, when these roots were cut off the tree was killed. It was
then cut off about a foot above the ground, but the stump remains. A
section of this tree at that point was found by Gordon Parker, supervisor
of Montezuma National Forest, to have 360 annual rings; its heart is
decayed, but its size suggests other rings, and that a few more years can
be added to its age. It is not improbable that this tree began to grow on
the top of the Sun Temple mound shortly after the year 1540, when
Coronado first entered New Mexico, but how great an interval elapsed
during which the walls fell to form the mound in which it grew, and how
much earlier the foundations of the ruined walls were laid, no one can
tell. A conservative guess of 350 years is allowable for the interval
between construction and the time the cedar began to sprout, thus
carrying the antiquity of Sun Temple back to about 1200 A. D.

                         UNITY OF CONSTRUCTION

The argument that appeals most strongly to many in supporting the theory
that Sun Temple was a ceremonial building is the unity shown in its
construction. A preconceived plan existed in the minds of the builders
before they began work on the main building. Sun Temple was not
constructed haphazardly, nor was its form due to addition of one clan
after another, each adding rooms to a preexisting nucleus. There is no
indication of patching one building to another, so evident at Cliff
Palace and other large cliff dwellings. The construction of the recess in
the south wall, situated exactly, to an inch, midway in its length, shows
it was planned from the beginning.

We can hardly believe that one clan could have been numerous enough to
construct a house so large and massive. Its walls are too extensive; the
work of dressing the stones too great. Those who made it must have
belonged to several clans fused together, and if they united for this
common work they were in a higher state of sociological development than
a loosely connected population of a cliff dwelling.


On the theory that this building was erected by people from several
neighboring cliff dwellings for ceremonies held in common, we may suppose
that the builders came daily from their dwellings in Cliff Palace and
other houses and returned at night, after they had finished work, to
their homes. The trails down the sides of the cliffs which the workmen
used are still to be seen. The place was frequented by many people, but
there is no evidence that any one clan dwelt near this mysterious
building during its construction.

The argument that cliff dwellers in the neighborhood built Sun Temple and
that incoming aliens had nothing to do with its construction seems very
strong. The architectural differences between it and Cliff Palace are not
objections, for the architectural form of Sun Temple may be regarded as a
repetition, in the open, of a form of building that developed in a cliff
house; the rounded north wall conforms with the rear of a cave and the
straight south wall reproduces the front of a cliff dwelling. The recess
midway in the south wall of Sun Temple could be likened without forcing
the comparison to a similar recess which occurs at the main entrance into
Cliff Palace.

Sun Temple was not built by an alien people, but by the cliff dwellers as
a specialized building mainly for religious purposes, and, so far as
known, is the first of its type recognized in the Mesa Verde area.

                          NEW FIRE-HOUSE GROUP

                              FIRE TEMPLE

Fire Temple is one of the most remarkable cliff houses in the park, if
not in the whole Southwest. It is situated in a shallow cave in the north
wall of Fewkes Canyon, near the head of the same, and can readily be seen
from the road along the southwest rim of the canyon. This ruin was
formerly called Painted House, but when it was excavated in May 1920
evidence was obtained that it was a specialized building and not a
habitation. The facts brought to light point to the theory that it was
consecrated to the fire cult, one of the most ancient forms of worship.

The ruin is rectangular in form, almost completely filling the whole of
its shallow cave, and the walls of the rooms extend to the roof. A ground
plan shows a central court 50 feet long and about 25 feet broad, flanked
at each end with massive-walled buildings two stories high. The walls of
these rooms are well constructed, plastered red and white within and on
the side turned to the court. The white plaster is adorned with symbolic
figures. The beams used in the construction of the ceiling of the lower
room are missing, but the walls show clearly that the structure was
formerly two stories high. No beams were used in the construction of the
floors, the lower story having been filled in with fragments of rocks on
which was plastered a good adobe floor.

The court or plaza was bounded by a low wall on the south side, the
buildings enclosing the east and west ends, where there was a banquette,
apparently for spectators. The north side of the court was formed by the
solid rocks of the cliff, but on the lower part a narrow masonry wall had
been laid up about head high, projecting from the cliff a foot and less
on the top. The wall was formerly plastered red below and white above,
triangular figures and zigzag markings recalling symbols of lightning on
the line of the junction of the red and white surfaces.

About the center of the court on a well-hardened adobe floor there is a
circular walled fire pit containing an abundance of ashes, and on either
side of it are foundations of small rectangular structures.

In the central fire pit fire was kept burning during the elaborate fire
dances of the natives, and possibly also a perpetual fire was conserved
in this pit from one act of kindling the new fire to another. The
function of the rectangular enclosures lying one on each side of the
circular enclosures is unknown. The new fire may have been kindled in the
middle of the three rooms of the lowest tier west of the main court. This
is a painted room, and on its walls there still remain in fair
preservation a row of five symbols of fire, numerous pictures of mountain
sheep and other animals.

Just west of Fire Temple there is a group of rooms which were evidently
habitations, since household utensils were found in them. One of these
rooms has in the floor a vertical shaft which opens outside the house
walls like a ventilator. The former use of this structure is unknown.
Although the Fire Temple was not inhabited, there were undoubtedly
dwellings nearby.

                             NEW FIRE HOUSE

A hundred feet east of the Fire Temple there are two low caves, one above
the other, in which may have lived those who attended this sanctuary. The
ruin is the New Fire House proper, or the habitation of the fire priests
and their families. The rooms in the lower cave were fitted for
habitation, consisting of two, possibly three, circular ceremonial rooms
and a few secular rooms; but the upper cave is destitute of the former.
The large rooms of the upper house look like granaries for the storage of
provisions, although possibly they also were inhabited. In the rear of
the large rooms identified as granaries was found a small room with a
well-preserved human skeleton accompanied with mortuary pottery. One of
these mortuary offerings is a fine mug made of black and white ware
beautifully decorated; a specimen worthy of exhibition with the best in
any museum. In the rear of the cave were three well-constructed grinding
bins, their metates still in place.

The upper house is now approached from the lower by foot holes in the
cliff and a ladder. Evidences of a secondary occupation of one of the
kivas in the lower house appear in a wall of crude masonry without
mortar, part of a rectangular room built diagonally across the kiva. The
plastering on the rear walls of the lower house is particularly well
preserved. One of the kivas has, in place of a deflector and ventilator
shaft, a small rectangular walled enclosure surrounded by a wall,
recalling structures on the floor of the kivas of Sun Temple. The meaning
of this departure from the prescribed form of ventilator is not apparent.

                            CEDAR TREE TOWER

Hidden in the timber about one-half mile east of the main entrance
highway, and a mile north of Spruce Tree Camp, are a tower and kiva of
especial interest. The associating of the two, without dwellings
accompanying them, is unique and leads to many conjectures as to their
use and purpose.

The masonry is excellent and the massive character of the walls and the
beautiful workmanship indicate some important use, for a large amount of
labor was expended in the construction of the buildings of this group.
Some of the stones are so large that it is difficult for one man to
handle them. The components are beautifully dressed, especially those
which form the rounded corners of the tower on the inner and outer
boundaries. The walls of the tower are uniformly 2 feet in width, and at
the highest point they still stand to the height of 15 feet.


Archeological investigations have shown that the later cultures of the
Mesa Verde built compact pueblo-style structures on the open mesa land
separating the deep canyons. Lacking natural protection of the caves and
cliffs of the canyons, a closely knit and compact structure was necessary
for defensive purposes. Not having to conform to the irregular contours
of the cave as in the cliff-house type, the structure assumed a roughly
rectangular shape in the open, with the kivas within, protected by the
adjacent outside living and storage rooms. The roofed-over kivas formed
small open courts within the higher outside walls. Structurally, there is
but little difference between the cliff house and the pueblo; undoubtedly
they are homogeneous.

[Illustration: A Mesa Verde surface ruin. Far View House.]

Four and a half miles north of Spruce Tree Camp the park road passes
through 16 major and many minor mounds. This is the so-called Mummy Lake
group, a misnomer, since the walled depression at the crest of the slope
above the group was never used as a reservoir, although in the spring of
the year water is still conducted thereto by the drainage ditches
constructed by the early cowmen in the park in their efforts to impound
sufficient water for their stock. And, again, mummies are never found
where the least dampness occurs.

The first unit of this group to be excavated was named Far View House
because of the wonderful panorama of diversified terrain that is visible
in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona from the walls of the ruin. At the
beginning of the work, this mound appeared very much as any of the other
adjacent major mounds, no sign of standing wall appearing above the even
contour of the ruin. Heavy growths of sagebrush covered the whole area.
Three months’ time was devoted to the excavation in revealing the
rectangular pueblo, 100 by 113 feet in size, now seen. The slow crumbling
of the heavy dirt-covered roofs and the walls, together with the annual
deposit of wind-blown sand from the San Juan country early each spring,
gradually filled the rooms to the level of the standing walls, after
which destructive elements and forces can little change the contour of
any ruin.

The external features of Far View House are apparent as we approach its
walls; mounting to the top of the highest wall we can best observe the
general plan. This pueblo is rectangular in shape, consisting of
concentrated rooms with a court surrounded by a wall annexed to the south
side. On its southeast corner, a little less than 100 feet away, lies the
cemetery from which have been taken a number of skeletons with their
offerings of food bowls and other objects, such as was the custom of
these people to deposit in the graves of their dead.

At its highest point on the north wall the pueblo had three stories, but
on the southern side there was but a single story. This building was
terraced, one tier of rooms above another. In the corner of the interior
of the highest room may still be seen the ancient fireplaces and stones
for grinding corn, set in their original positions as used by the former
inhabitants. There are no external windows or passages, except on the
south side where midway in length is a recess in which was placed a
ladder in order to be hidden from view. The inhabitants evidently used
the roof of the lowest terrace for many occupations. A birdseye view
shows that all the rooms, now roofless, fall into two groups.

In the center of this mass of rooms is a kiva 32 feet in diameter, and
around it are three smaller kivas. The size of the large kiva is
noteworthy. In the cliff dwellings the kivas were necessarily small
because of the limited floor space, but in the surface villages, where
unlimited space was available, they were often large. This arrangement of
one large kiva and several small ones is common. It might indicate that
each clan had a small kiva of its own but that in the major ceremonies,
when all of the clans worked together, the large ceremonial room was
used. The structural details of the large kiva are identical with those
of the smaller ones. The only variation is in the size.

The rooms surrounding these circular ones vary somewhat in form but are,
as a rule, rectangular, the shapes of those near the kivas being
triangular to fill the necessary spaces. The contents of the rectangular
rooms show that they were inhabited. Artifacts were found and indications
of various industries as well as marks of smoke from their fireplaces
appear on the walls. From the nature of this evidence there is no doubt
that Far View House was once inhabited by the people living the same way
as those dwelling in Spruce Tree House.

The court added to the pueblo on its south side is enclosed by a low
wall. Here were probably performed, in ancient times, the many religious
dances and festivals.

Far View House is but one of the 16 pueblos in the Mummy Lake group, and
at the period of maximum development could have housed a large
population. To the north and east, where the two branches of Soda Canyon
join, another large village or group has been located, and one can almost
trace the trail across the west fork of Soda Canyon to the neighboring
village and imagine the dusky visitors going from one to the other in
prehistoric times. Each narrow tonguelike mesa of the Mesa Verde has its
ruins of either isolated pueblo structures, or adjacent groups, denoting
the widespread distribution of the mesa pueblo builders.

Pottery is the best index as to the chronological sequence of the ruins
in the Southwest, and in examining the pottery of some of the mesa-type
pueblos it is found that some contain pottery antedating that of the
cliff-house culture, while others contain similar types. Undoubtedly,
they were simultaneously inhabited, in part at least, and the transitory
period was of long duration; but the period in prehistoric time when they
were built and later deserted has not been determined. We cannot say from
data now at hand when this took place, documentary history affording no

The aborigines who lived near these ruins when discovered in 1874 belong
to the Utes, a Shoshonean stock who disclaimed all knowledge of the
people who constructed these buildings. They avoided them as uncanny and
even now can only with difficulty be induced to enter them. They have dim
legends of conflicts between the earliest Utes and cliff dwellers.
Unfortunately, however, such legendary evidence is not reliable, as the
general mythology of these people has been much distorted due to foreign


During the season of 1922 excavation and repair work in the vicinity of
Far View House was carried on simultaneously. Among the ruins excavated
were Pipe Shrine House, One Clan House, Far View Tower, and Megalithic

                             EARTH LODGE A

In 1922 one of the Late Basket Maker pit houses was excavated on the mesa
above Square Tower House. This structure is known as Earth Lodge A.
Although it once had a mud and pole roof almost as high as a man’s head,
nothing now remains but the underground part of the house. None of these
pit houses have ever been found that have not been burned, and only a few
pieces of charcoal remain as evidence of the former roof. The pit is 30
inches deep and 18 feet in diameter. In the center is a fire pit. In the
floor are also four holes, forming a large square, in which the roof
supports once stood. The walls of the pit were formerly plastered with a
thick layer of mud, but only a few patches of this remain. Around the
edge of the room, where the floor was low, were a number of small storage
bins made of thin stone slabs. No side entrance was located during
excavation. In some of the pit houses evidence has shown that entrance
was often made by means of a ladder through the smokehole in the roof.

This was a typical home of the Late Basket Makers who were living in this
region when the Pueblo Indians arrived about 700 A. D. These pit houses
passed out of existence as soon as the masonry wall was perfected.

                           UNEXCAVATED RUINS

Of all the ruins in Mesa Verde National Park only 28 have been named and
only 30 excavated. No survey of the unexcavated sites has been made, and
the total number of ruins is unknown. Several hundred cliff dwellings
have been discovered, and new ones will probably be found in the more
remote canyons. The surface pueblos outnumber the cliff dwellings, and a
careful search would reveal many that are now hidden by a thick growth of
underbrush. The earth lodges of the Late Basket Makers are so common that
hundreds will be brought to light by careful search. Dozens of them can
be located in a half-hour walk over any of the mesas.


Dr. A. E. Douglass, director of Steward Observatory, University of
Arizona, established the tree-ring chronology for dating Southwestern
ruins. This chronology is based upon the facts that solar changes affect
our weather and weather in turn the trees of the arid Southwest, as
elsewhere, and that such affects are recorded in the variation of
tree-ring growth during wet and dry years. Thus the tree-ring record of
living trees has been extended into the past by arranging beams from
historic pueblos in their proper sequence so that the inner diaries of
one dovetailed the outer entries of its predecessor, and in turn
overlapped the diary of the living trees. After completing the series
from living trees and pueblos, of known dates, the record has been
continued through the cross-sections of prehistoric beams of fir and pine
that were chopped with the stone axes. The continuation of this
chronology is only limited by the finding of earlier beams than those
used in the established chronology.

The National Geographic Society tree-ring expedition took, in all, 49
beam sections from ruins within Mesa Verde National Park. During 1932 and
1933 further tree-ring research was carried on in this area and
additional dates have been secured. Presuming that the year of cutting
the timber was the year of actual use in construction, the following
dates have been established for the major cliff dwellings:

  Mug House, A. D. 1066
  Cliff Palace, A. D. 1073-1273
  Oak Tree House, A. D. 1112-84
  Spring House, A. D. 1115
  Hemenway House, A. D. 1171
  Balcony House, A. D. 1190-1272
  Long House, A. D. 1204-11
  Square Tower House, A. D. 1204-46
  Spruce Tree House, A. D. 1230-74
  New Fire House, A. D. 1259
  Ruin No. 16, A. D. 1261
  Buzzard House, A. D. 1273

Since considerable tree-ring material from these ruins remains yet to be
examined, the dates given above are not final. On the basis of present
evidence, Cliff Palace, the largest and most complex cliff house within
the park, shows an occupancy of 200 years.

It is an interesting fact that all of the dates fall just short of the
beginning of the great drought, which the tree-ring chronology shows
commenced in 1276 and extended to 1299, a period of 23 years.

                      DISCOVERIES OF RECENT YEARS

In 1923 Roy Henderson and A. B. Hardin discovered the largest and finest
watchtower that had yet been found. The tower was circular, 25 feet in
height and 11 feet in diameter. Loopholes at various levels commanded the
approach from every exposed quarter.

During the winter of 1924 the north refuse space of Spruce Tree House was
excavated. Two child burials were found, one partially mummified, the
other skeletal only. With one was found a mug, a ladle, a digging stick,
and two ring baskets that had held food. Several corrugated jars were
found, together with miscellaneous material. A layer of turkey droppings
a foot thick indicated the space had been used as a turkey pen.

During January and February of 1926, when snow was available as a water
supply, excavations were carried on in Step House Cave, by Superintendent
Jesse L. Nusbaum. In 1891 Nordenskiöld had found many fine burials in
this cave and it had suffered greatly from pothunting. The cliff dweller
refuse at the south end of the cave had not been thoroughly cleaned out,
however, and it was under this layer of trash that the important
discovery was made. Three of the Lake Basket Maker pit houses were found,
giving the first evidence that these people had used the caves before the
cliff dwellers. Very few artifacts were found because of the earlier
pothunting. In 1926 also a low, deep cave opposite Fire Temple was
excavated, and a small amount of Basket Maker material found. Most
interesting were two tapered cylinders of crystallized salt that still
bore the imprint of the molder’s hands. While bracing a slipping boulder
in Cliff Palace, Fred Jeeps found, in 1916, a sandal of the Early Basket
Maker type that indicates a former occupancy of the cave by the first
group of Agricultural Indians in this region.

In 1927 Bone Awl House was excavated. A series of unusually fine bone
awls was found that suggested the name for the ruin. Much miscellaneous
material was also found. Another small cliff dwelling nearby was cleaned
out. One baby mummy and an adult burial were found, as well as some
pottery and bone and stone tools. This ruin is reached by a spectacular
series of 104 footholds that the cliff dwellers had cut in the almost
perpendicular canyon wall.

During March of 1928 and the winter of 1929 restricted excavations were
conducted in ruins 11 to 19, inclusive, on the west side of Wetherill
Mesa. Several burials were found, all in poor condition because of
dampness. Outstanding was an unusual bird pendant of hematite with
crystal eyes set into drilled sockets with piñon gum. Forty-two bowls
were reconstructed from the sherds found.

In the summer of 1929 Mr. and Mrs. Harold S. Gladwin and associates of
Gila Pueblo, Globe, Ariz., assisted by Deric Nusbaum, conducted an
archeological survey of small-house ruins on Chapin Mesa and in the
canyon heads along the North Rim. The survey covered 250 sites. One
hundred sherds were collected from each site and studied to identify the
pottery types, the sequence of their development, and their relationship
to pottery types of other southwestern archeological areas.

The forest fire of 1934 revealed many hitherto unknown ruins. Two
splendid watchtowers were found on the west cliff of Rock Canyon. In a
small area at the head of Long Canyon 10 new Early Pueblo ruins were
located and no doubt scores of others will be found upon more careful
search. In the heads of the small canyons many dams and terraces were

In the stabilization program that was carried on in 1934-35 a number of
artifacts were found. A certain amount of debris had to be moved in order
that the weakened walls and slipping foundations might be strengthened
and varied finds resulted. Axes, bone awls, sandals, pottery, planting
sticks, and similar articles were most common, but a few burials were
also found.

In August 1934 the undisturbed skeleton of an old woman was found on the
bare floor of a small ruin just across the canyon from the public camp
grounds. This skeleton, of particular importance because of fusion of the
spinal column, had apparently remained exposed and undisturbed through
more than seven centuries.

Because of the fact that no detailed, comprehensive survey has ever been
made of the archeological resources of the park, the findings of new
ruins, artifacts, and human remains are more or less regularly reported
at the park museum.


The so-called “Mesa Verde cliff dwellers” were not the first of the
prehistoric southwestern cultures, nor were they the first human
occupants of the natural caves that abound in the area of the park.
Centuries before the cliff-dweller culture with its complex social
organizations, agriculture, and highly developed arts of masonry,
textiles, and ceramics, it is thought that small groups of primitive
Mongoloid hunters crossed from the northeastern peninsula of Asia to the
western coast of Alaska. The Bering Strait, with but 60 miles of water
travel, offered the safest and easiest route.

Just when these migrations to the east had their origin and how long they
continued cannot definitely be said, but it is thought the earliest
Mongoloid hunters were in northwestern America about twelve to fifteen
thousand years ago. When Columbus “discovered” America the continent was
inhabited from Alaska to the Strait of Magellan and from the Pacific to
the Atlantic coasts.

For perhaps several thousand years following the first migrations little
of great significance developed. There undoubtedly was cultural progress,
but it was slow, and in the long perspective of time its evidences are
hardly discernible. With the knowledge and benefits of agriculture, which
was probably developed first in Mexico, hunting gave way to husbandry,
nomadism to sedentary life, and there followed a great period of change
and advancement. The introduction of corn or Indian maize into what is
now the southwestern United States may be called the antecedent condition
for all advanced cultures of the area.

Evidence has not yet been established that the first of the maize-growing
Indians of the Southwest were permanent occupants of the Mesa Verde.
Nevertheless, in the Cliff Palace cave, well below the horizon or floor
level of the cliff dwellers, archeologists have found a yucca fiber
sandal of a distinctive type which is associated only with the first
agricultural civilization. From this evidence it would be reasonable to
assume that the caves of Mesa Verde at least offered temporary shelter,
if not permanent homes, to the people of this period.

The earliest culture so far definitely identified as having permanent
habitation on the Mesa Verde is the Basket Maker III or the Second
Agricultural Basket Maker first found in Step House cave on the west side
of the park below the debris of the latter cliff-house occupation. Recent
excavations and archeological surveys furnish conclusive evidence that
the second agricultural people were most numerous in the area now
included in this national park, and they constructed their roughly
circular subterranean rooms not only in the sandy floor of the caves but
also in the red soil on the comparatively level mesas separating the
numerous canyons. Late Basket Maker House A, formerly known as Earth
Lodge A, is an excellent example of this early type of structure. Up to
this time excavations have failed to uncover a single house structure of
this type not destroyed by fire.

These early inhabitants made basketry, excelled in the art of weaving,
and it is believed were the first of the southwestern cultures to invent
fired pottery. The course of this invention can be traced from the crude
sun-dried vessel tempered with shredded cedar bark to the properly
tempered and durable fired vessel.

Then followed a long development in house structure, differing materially
from this earlier type. Horizontal masonry replaced the cruder attempts
of house-wall construction; rectangular or squarish forms replaced the
somewhat circular and earlier type; and gradually the single-room
structure was grouped in ever-enlarging units which assumed varying forms
of arrangement as the development progressed. The art of pottery making
improved concurrently with the more complex house structure. This later
period represents the intermediate era of development from the crude Late
Basket Maker dwellings to the remarkable structures of the “Cliff House

During this period of transition new people penetrated the area. The
Basket Makers throughout the course of their development were
consistently a long-headed group. The appearance of an alien group is
recorded through the finding of skeletons with broad or round skulls and
a deformed occiput. These new people, the Pueblos, took over, changed,
and adapted to their own needs the material culture of the earlier

The cliff dwellers were not content with the crude buildings and earth
lodges that satisfied as homes during earlier periods of occupancy. For
their habitations they shaped stones into regular forms, sometimes
ornamenting them with designs, and laid them in mud mortar, one on
another. Their masonry has resisted the destructive forces of the
elements for centuries.

The arrangement of houses in a cliff dwelling the size of Cliff Palace is
characteristic and is intimately associated with the distribution of the
social divisions of its former inhabitants.

The population was composed of a number of units, possibly clans, each of
which had its more or less distinct social organization, as indicated in
the arrangement of the rooms. The rooms occupied by a clan were not
necessarily connected, although generally neighboring rooms were
distinguished from one another by their uses. Thus, each clan had its
men’s room, which is ceremonially called the “kiva.” Each clan had also
one or more rooms, which may be styled the living rooms, and other
enclosures for granaries. The corn was ground into meal in another room
containing the metate set in a stone bin or trough. Sometimes the rooms
had fireplaces, although these were generally in the plazas or on the
housetops. All these different rooms, taken together, constituted the
houses that belonged to one clan.

The conviction that each kiva denotes a distinct social unit, as a clan
or a family, is supported by a general similarity in the masonry of the
kiva walls and that of adjacent houses ascribed to the same clan. From
the number of these rooms it would appear that there were at least 23
social units or clans in Cliff Palace.

Apparently there is no uniformity or prearranged plan in the distribution
of the kivas. As religious belief and custom prescribed that these rooms
should be subterranean, the greatest number were placed in front of the
rectangular buildings where it was easiest to construct them. When
necessary, because of limited space or other conditions, kivas were also
built far back in the cave and inclosed by a double wall of masonry, with
the walls being spaced about two and a half to three feet apart. The
section between the walls was then backfilled with earth or rubble to the
level of the kiva roof. In that way the ceremonial structure was
artificially made subterranean, as their beliefs required.

In addition to their ability as architects and masons, the cliff dwellers
excelled in the art of pottery making and as agriculturists. Their
decorated pottery—a black design on pearly white background—will compare
favorably with pottery of the other cultures of the prehistoric

As their sense of beauty was keen, their art, though primitive, was true;
rarely realistic, generally symbolic. Their decoration of cotton fabrics
and ceramic work might be called beautiful, even when judged by our own
standards. They fashioned axes, spear points, and rude tools of stone;
they wove sandals, and made attractive basketry.

The staple product of the cliff dwellers was corn; they also planted
beans and gourds. This limited selection was perhaps augmented by piñon
nuts and yucca fruit—indigenous products found in abundance.
Nevertheless, successful agriculture on the semiarid plateau of the Mesa
Verde must have been dependent upon hard work and diligent efforts.
Without running streams irrigation was impossible and success depended
upon the ability of the farmer to save the crop through the dry period of
June and early July.

Rain at the right time was the all-important problem, and so confidently
did they believe that they were dependent upon the gods to make the rain
fall and the corn grow that they worshiped the sun as the father of all
life and the earth as the mother who brought them all their material

From Dr. A. E. Douglass’s tree-ring chronology the earliest date so far
established for the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings is 1066 A. D. and the
latest date 1274 A. D. While it should not be imagined that these are the
all-inclusive dates representing the total time of the cliff-dweller
culture, it is interesting to note that this same tree-ring story tells
us that a great drought commenced in 1276 and extended for a 23-year
period to 1299. It may logically be presumed that the prehistoric
population was gradually forced to withdraw from the area as the drought
continued and to establish itself near more favorable sources of water

The so-called “Aztec ruin”, which is situated on the banks of the Animas
River in northwestern New Mexico, substantiates this hypothesis of the
voluntary desertion of the cliff dwellings. In this ruin is found
unmistakable evidence of a secondary occupation which has been definitely
identified as a Mesa Verde settlement.

It is thought that certain of the present-day Pueblo Indians are
descendants, in part at least, of the cliff dwellers. Many of these
Indian towns or pueblos still survive in the States of New Mexico and
Arizona, the least modified of which are the villages of the Hopi,
situated not far from the Grand Canyon National Park.

                            FAUNA AND FLORA

The fauna and flora of Mesa Verde should be particularly interesting to
visitors. A combination of desert types from the lower arid country and
mountain types, usually associated with regions of higher rainfall, occur
here. The desert types are highly specialized to cope with their
environment, particularly the plant and smaller animal life.

Rocky Mountain mule deer are perhaps the only big game to be found
abundantly in the park. They are often seen. Their numbers in the park,
however, vary greatly according to the season. It is hoped to reintroduce
the native species of Rocky Mountain bighorn, as soon as range sufficient
for the needs of this species has been added to the park.

Cougars, or mountain lions, are part of the wildlife of the park and,
strange to say, are occasionally seen in broad daylight. In other
national parks these animals are rarely seen even by rangers.

Coyotes and foxes are not as numerous as they once were on the mesa. As a
result, many of the smaller animals such as porcupines and prairie dogs
have greatly increased. Wildcats are fairly common but are only
occasionally seen.

Game birds are represented by the dusky grouse and scaled quail, both
desert types. No wild turkeys are found in the park now, although it is
believed that they were once there. Fragments of bones discovered in the
ruins indicate that the cliff dwellers kept turkeys. Whether these were
wild turkeys from the mesa or birds brought in from elsewhere is a
question that has not as yet been answered. At present the reintroduction
of wild turkeys to Mesa Verde is under consideration.

Among the most interesting animal residents of Mesa Verde are the
lizards. Some of these are: the horned lizard, the western spotted or
earless lizard, the collared lizard, the striped race-runner, utas, rock
swifts, and sagebrush swifts.

Although Mesa Verde receives considerably more rainfall than true desert
areas, vegetation is fairly sparse at the best and is generally of the
arid type. Cacti of a number of varieties flourish but are conspicuous
only in May and June when they bloom. Piñon pine, juniper, Douglas fir,
and western yellow pine represent most of the large evergreens. Oregon
grape, yucca, and mistletoe (on the junipers) are some of the other
plants found over the area. Nearer the springs and water courses
vegetation is much more luxurious, but unfortunately these spots are far
below the level of the mesa and are mostly on privately owned land.

[Illustration: A yucca plant in fruit (Yucca baccata).]

                         HOW TO REACH THE PARK

                             BY AUTOMOBILE

Mesa Verde National Park may be reached by automobile from Denver,
Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and other Colorado points. Through Pueblo one
road leads to the park by way of Cañon City, from where one may look down
into the Royal Gorge, the deepest canyon in the world penetrated by a
railroad and river. This road passes through Salida and on through
Gunnison and Montrose, and then south through Ouray, Silverton, and
Durango. This route passes through some of Colorado’s most magnificent
mountain scenery. Another road leads south from Pueblo through
Walsenburg, across La Veta Pass, on through Alamosa, Del Norte, Pagosa
Springs, and Durango, crossing Wolf Creek Pass en route. Both roads lead
west from Durango to Mancos and on into the park.

Motorists coming from Utah turn southward from Green River or Thompsons,
crossing the Colorado River at Moab, proceeding southward to Monticello,
thence eastward to Cortez, Colo., and the park.

From Arizona and New Mexico points, Gallup, on the National Old Trails
Road, is easily reached. The auto road leads north from Gallup through
the Navajo Indian Reservation and a corner of the Ute Indian Reservation.
At Shiprock Indian Agency, 98 miles north of Gallup, the San Juan River
is crossed.

                              BY RAILROAD

Mesa Verde National Park is approached by rail both from the north and
from the south: From the north via the Denver & Rio Grande Western
Railroad main transcontinental line through Grand Junction, and branch
lines through Montrose and Durango; from the south via the main
transcontinental line of the Santa Fe Railroad through Gallup, N. Mex.

The lines of the Denver & Rio Grande Western System traverse some of the
most magnificent scenery of the Rocky Mountain region, a fact which gives
the journey to Mesa Verde zestful travel flavor. Two main-line routes are
provided to the Grand Junction gateway.

The Royal Gorge Route goes through the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas, now
spanned by an all-steel suspension bridge, 1,053 feet above the tracks in
the Royal Gorge. This route crosses Tennessee Pass (altitude, 10,240
feet) and follows the Eagle River to its junction with the Colorado River
at Dotsero, thence to Grand Junction.

Service was inaugurated in June 1934 via the new James Peak Route of the
D. & R. G. W., utilizing the Moffat Tunnel (altitude at apex, 9,239
feet), 6.2-mile bore which pierces the Continental Divide, 50 miles west
of Denver. This route follows the Colorado River from Fraser, high on the
west slope of the continent, through Byers Canyon, Red Gorge, Gore
Canyon, and Red Canyon, thence over the Dotsero Cut-off to Dotsero, where
it joins the Royal Gorge Route. The new line saves 175 miles in the
distance from Denver to Grand Junction.

                          MOTOR TRANSPORTATION

The Rio Grande Motor Way, Inc., of Grand Junction, Colo., from June 15 to
September 15, operates a daily motor service from Grand Junction, Delta,
Montrose, Ouray, Silverton, Durango, and Mancos, Colo., to Spruce Tree
Lodge in Mesa Verde National Park. This motor bus leaves Grand Junction
at 7:15 a. m., via the scenic Chief Ouray Highway, stopping en route at
other places mentioned, crossing beautiful Red Mountain Pass (altitude,
11,025 feet), arriving at Spruce Tree Lodge at 7 p. m. The stage leaves
the park at 7 a. m., arriving at Grand Junction at 5:40 p. m.

The round-trip fare between Grand Junction and the park is $26.56 if four
or more persons make the trip, and increases as the number of passengers

Entrance to Mesa Verde from the south through Gallup, N. Mex., via the
Navajo and Southern Ute Indian Reservations, is growing constantly in
convenience and popularity. Hunter Clarkson, Inc., with headquarters at
El Navajo Hotel, in Gallup, operates two-day round trip light sedan
service, leaving Gallup at 8 a. m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,
and returning to Gallup at 6 p. m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
This service permits the visiting of ruins in the park, in accordance
with regular schedules, on the afternoon of the first day and on the
morning of the second. The round trip fare per person (360 miles) is $25.
A minimum of two passengers is required. Fare for children, five and
under twelve, is $12.50. Meals and hotel accommodations en route or at
the park are not included. El Navajo Hotel, operated by Fred Harvey,
offers excellent overnight accommodations at Gallup.

The Cannon Ball Stage operates bus service from Gallup, via Shiprock and
Farmington, to Durango, where connection may be made with the motor bus
of the Rio Grande Motor Way, Inc., for the trip from Durango to the park.
The Cannon Ball Stage bus leaves Gallup each day at 11:30 a. m., arriving
at Durango at 4:45 p. m. Returning it leaves Durango at 8 a. m. and
arrives at Gallup at 1 p. m. The fare from Gallup to Durango is $6 one
way and $10.80 for the round trip.


The Mesa Verde National Park is under the exclusive control of the
National Park Service of the Department of the Interior, which is
authorized to make rules and regulations and to establish such service as
it may deem necessary for the care and management of the park and the
preservation from injury or spoliation of the ruins and other remains of
prehistoric man within the limits of the reservation.

The National Park Service is represented in the actual administration of
the park by a superintendent, who is assisted in the protection and
interpretation of its natural and prehistoric features by a well-trained
staff. The present superintendent is Jesse L. Nusbaum, and his
post-office address is Mesa Verde National Park, Colo.

[Illustration: Headquarters Area.]

The park season extends from May 15 to October 15, complete lodging and
food accommodations and automobile stage service being available from
June 15 to September 15. Informal lodging and meal accommodations are
provided during the remainder of the park season.

Exclusive jurisdiction over the park was ceded to the United States by
act of the Colorado Legislature approved May 2, 1927, and accepted by
Congress by act approved April 25, 1928. There is a United States
Commissioner at park headquarters.

Telegrams sent prepaid to Mancos, Colo., will be phoned to addressee at
park office. The post-office address for parties within the park is Mesa
Verde National Park, Colo.

                          EDUCATIONAL SERVICE

Educational service, carefully planned to provide each visitor with an
opportunity to interpret and appreciate the features of the Mesa Verde,
is provided, without charge, by the Government. This service is directed
by the park naturalist, who is assisted by a group of ranger naturalists.

                       GUIDED TRIPS TO THE RUINS

During the season visitors are accompanied from the park museum to the
various ruins by competent ranger naturalists. These men, well trained in
the social and biological sciences, make it their duty to help the
visitor understand the natural and archeological features of the Mesa
Verde. Because of the need of protecting the ruins and the somewhat
devious trails by which they are reached, no one will be allowed to enter
any ruin except Spruce Tree House unless accompanied by a ranger

                            CAMP-FIRE TALKS

Each evening at 8 o’clock informal talks are given at the camp-fire
circle near park headquarters. The superintendent, the park naturalist,
and members of the educational staff give talks on the archeology of the
region. Visiting scientists, writers, lecturers, and noted travelers
often contribute to the evening’s entertainment. After the talks six of
the best singers and dancers among the Navajo Indians employed in the
park can usually be persuaded, by modest voluntary contributions on the
part of the visitors, to give some of their songs and dances.

[Illustration: Competent ranger naturalists accompany visitors to the
ruins. Grant Photo.]

                              PARK MUSEUM

The park museum houses very important and comprehensive collections of
excavated cliff-dweller and basket maker material, as well as restricted
collections of arts and crafts of modern Indians of the Southwest. These
collections have been assembled through the conduct of excavations within
the park and through loan or gift of materials by park friends or
cooperating institutions. This material is arranged in a definite
chronological order. By following through from the earliest culture to
those of the present time a clear and concise picture of the former
material cultures of the Mesa Verde and surrounding regions may be

One room has been set aside for natural history exhibits exemplifying the
geology, fauna, and flora of this peculiar mesa-canyon country.

                           REFERENCE LIBRARY

A part of the museum is given over to an excellent reference library and
reading room. This library consists of books on archeology and related
natural history subjects pertaining to this interesting region. Visitors
have access to these books on application to the museum assistant who is
in charge. These books may not be removed from the reading room.

                        FREE PUBLIC CAMP GROUNDS

The new public camp grounds are located in the piñons and junipers on the
rim of Spruce Canyon only a few hundred feet from Spruce Tree Lodge and
park headquarters. Individual party campsites have been cleared, and a
protecting screen of shrubbery contributes to their privacy. Each site is
provided with a fireplace, a table with seats, and a large level place
for a tent. Good water has been piped to convenient places, and cut wood
is provided without charge. Toilet facilities, showers, and laundry tubs
are also provided. A ranger is detailed for duty in the camp grounds.

Leave your campsite clean when you have finished with it.

Do not drive cars on, or walk, over the shrubbery.

The camp ground facilities at Mesa Verde have been greatly improved and
expanded through the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Provisions for campers are obtainable at reasonable prices in any of the
nearby towns. Groceries, gas, and oil can also be purchased at Spruce
Tree Lodge.

                       HORSEBACK AND HIKING TRIPS

Visitors who view the Mesa Verde from the automobile roads gain but an
inkling of the weird beauty and surprises that this area holds for the
more adventurous. Horseback and hiking trips along the rim rocks and into
the canyons lead to spectacular ruins not seen from any of the roads.
Such great ruins as Spring House, Long House, Kodak House, Jug House, Mug
House, and Step House, as well as all of the ruins in the more remote
canyons, can be reached by trail only. Each turn of the trail reveals
entrancing vistas of rugged canyons, sheer cliffs, great caves, hidden
ruins, distant mountains, tree-covered mesas, and open glades.

[Illustration: A party off for the less-frequented trails. Grant photo.]

In making these trips it is important that the hiker prepare himself with
proper footwear, as the trails are very precipitous in places.

                      HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL SERVICE

There is an excellent hospital at park headquarters where medical and
surgical service is provided to care for all emergency cases. Prices are
regulated by the Secretary of the Interior.


At Spruce Tree Lodge, situated among the piñons and junipers overlooking
Spruce, Spruce Tree, and Navajo Canyons, cottages and comfortable floored
tents may be rented at prices ranging from $0.75 to $2 per day a person
for accommodations only, and from $4.50 to $5.75 per day including meals.
Meals, table d’hote and a la carte, at reasonable prices. Children: No
charge under 3; half rates from 3 to 8. The official season for Spruce
Tree Lodge is from June 15 to September 15.

The company also operates, for visitors who do not care to use their own
cars or are without private transportation, automobile service to various
ruins for $1 each, round trip. A special evening trip to Park Point to
see the spectacular sunset from the highest point in the park is $1.50
per person.

                      OUT-OF-SEASON ACCOMMODATIONS

Before June 15 and after September 15, cabins may be rented from the
caretaker of Spruce Tree Lodge at the regular rates. Meals, with
breakfast 50 cents, and luncheon and dinner 75 cents, may be had at the
Government dining hall. In nearby towns, less than an hour’s drive from
park headquarters, accommodations are also obtainable.


Saddle horses, especially trained for mountain work, may be rented from
the Mesa Verde Pack & Saddle Co. For short trips the rental is $1 for the
first hour and 50 cents for each additional hour. For short 1-day trips
for three persons or more the cost is $3.50 each; two persons $4 each;
one person $6. Longer 1-day trips for experienced riders are available at
$2 per person more than the rate for the shorter 1-day trips. All prices
include guide service, and a slicker, canteen, and lunch bag are provided
with each horse. Arrangements should be made the evening before the trip
is taken.

                               PACK TRIPS

Nonscheduled pack trips to the more remote sections of the park may be
arranged (2 days’ notice is required) at prices ranging from $9 a day
each for parties of five or more to $15 a day for one person. This
includes a guide-cook and furnishes each person with one saddle horse,
one pack horse, bed, tent, canteen, slicker, and subsistence for the
trip. Three days is the minimum time for which these trips can be


  Chapin, F. H. The Land of the Cliff Dwellers.[4] W. B. Clarke & Co.,
          Boston, Mass. 1892. 187 pages.
  Douglass, Dr. Andrew Ellicott. The Secret of the Southwest Solved by
          the Talkative Tree Rings, in National Geographic Magazine,
          December 1929.[4]
  Faris, John T. Roaming the Rockies. Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., New York.
          1930. Illustrated. 333 pages. Mesa Verde on pp. 193-203.
  Fewkes, J. Walter. Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Spruce
          Tree House.[4] (Bureau of American Ethnology Bull. 41, 1909. 57
          pages, illustrated.) (Out of print.)
  —— Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace.[4]
          (Bureau of American Ethnology Bull. 51, 1911. 82 pages,
          illustrated.) (Out of print.)
  —— Excavation and Repair of Sun Temple, Mesa Verde National Park.[4]
          (Report of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. 1916.
          32 pages, illustrated.) (Out of print.)
  —— A Prehistoric Mesa Verde Pueblo and Its People.[4] (Report of the
          Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. 1917. 26 pages.) (Out
          of print.)
  —— Prehistoric Villages, Castles, and Towers of Southwestern
          Colorado.[4] (Bureau of American Ethnology Bull. 70. 1919. 79
          pages text, 33 plates.)
  Gillmor, Frances, and Wetherill, Louisa Wade. Traders to the
          Navahos.[4] Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston and New York. 1934.
          Illustrated, 265 pages. Describes discovery of cliff dwellings
          by Wetherill brothers.
  Holmes, William H. Report on Ancient Ruins in Southwestern Colorado
          Examined During Summers of 1875 and 1876. (Geological and
          Geographical Survey of the Territories (Hayden), Tenth Report,
          1876, pp. 381-408, illustrated.)
  Ickes, Anna Wilmarth. Mesa Land.[4] Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston and
          New York, 1933. Illustrated. 228 pages. Southwest in general.
          Mesa Verde, pp. 100-101.
  Ingersoll, Ernest. Reprint, first article. Mancos River Ruins, New York
          Tribune. Nov. 3, 1874; in Indian Notes, vol. 5, no. 2, April
          1928, pp. 183-206, Museum of American Indian, Heye Foundation,
          New York.[4]
  Jackson, W. H. The Pioneer Photographer.[4] World Book Co., 1929.
  Jeffers, Le Roy. The Call of the Mountains. 282 pages, illustrated.
          Dodd, Mead & Co., 1922. Mesa Verde on pp. 96-111.
  Kane, J. F. Picturesque America. 1935. 256 pp., illustrated. Published
          by Frederick Gumbrecht, Brooklyn, N. Y. Mesa Verde on pp.
  Kidder, Alfred Vincent. An introduction to the Study of Southwestern
          Archaeology.[4] 300 pages, illustrated. Yale University Press,
          1924. Mesa Verde on pp. 58-68.
  —— Beautiful America—Our National Parks. 1924. 160 pages pictorial
          views. Beautiful America Publishing Corporation, New York City.
          Mesa Verde views pp. 58-68.
  Mills, Enos A. Your National Parks. 1917. 532 pages, illustrated. Mesa
          Verde National Park on pp. 161-174; 488-490.
  Morris, Ann Axtell. Digging in the Southwest.[4] Doubleday Doran Co.,
          1933. Readable account of the trade secrets of a southwestern
  Nordenskiöld, G. The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde.[4] 1893. 171
          pages, illustrated.
  Nusbaum, Deric. Deric in Mesa Verde.[4] 1926. Illustrated. G. P.
          Putnam’s Sons. Knickerbocker Press.
  Rolfe, Mary A. Our National Parks.[4] Book One. A supplementary reader
          on the national parks for the fifth and sixth grade students.
          Benj. H. Sanborn & Co. 1927. Illustrated. Mesa Verde on pp.
  Yard, Robert Sterling. The Top of the Continent. 1917. 244 pages,
          illustrated. Mesa Verde National Park on pp. 44-62.
  —— The Book of the National Parks. 1926. 444 pages, illustrated. Mesa
          Verde National Park on pp. 284-304.

                       NATIONAL PARK PUBLICATIONS

Glimpses of Our National Parks. An illustrated booklet of 92 pages
containing descriptions of the principal national parks. Address the
Director, National Park Service, Washington, D. C. Free.

Recreational Map. Shows both Federal and State reservations with
recreational opportunities throughout the United States. Brief
descriptions of principal ones. Free.

Fauna of the National Parks. Series No. 1. By G. M. Wright, J. S. Dixon,
and B. H. Thompson. Survey of wildlife conditions in the national parks.
157 pages, illustrated. Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.
Price 20 cents.

Fauna of the National Parks. Series No. 2. By G. M. Wright and B. H.
Thompson. Wildlife management in the national parks. 142 pages,
illustrated. Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C. 20 cents.

Map of Mesa Verde National Park; 43 by 28 inches; scale, one-half mile to
the inch. United States Geological Survey, Washington, D. C. Price 20

Panoramic View of Mesa Verde National Park; 22½ by 19 inches; scale,
three-fourths mile to the inch. Superintendent of Documents, Washington,
D. C. Price, 25 cents.

National Parks Portfolio. By Robert Sterling Yard. Cloth bound and
illustrated with more than 300 beautiful photographs of the national
parks. Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C. Price $1.50.

Booklets about the national parks listed below may be obtained free of
charge by writing The National Park Service, Washington, D. C.

  Acadia, Maine
  Carlsbad Caverns, N. Mex.
  Crater Lake, Oreg.
  General Grant, Calif.
  Glacier, Mont.
  Grand Canyon, Ariz.
  Grand Teton, Wyo.
  Great Smoky Mountains, N. C.-Tenn.
  Hawaii, Hawaii
  Hot Springs, Ark.
  Lassen Volcanic, Calif.
  Mount McKinley, Alaska
  Mount Rainier, Wash.
  Platt, Okla.
  Rocky Mountain, Colo.
  Sequoia, Calif.
  Shenandoah National Park, Va.
  Wind Cave, S. Dak.
  Yellowstone, Wyo.-Mont.-Idaho
  Yosemite, Calif.
  Zion and Bryce Canyon, Utah



[1]Approximate dating. Exact dating by the methods of tree-ring
    chronology are yet to be accomplished.

[2]The Secret of the Southwest Solved by Talkative Tree Rings, by A. E.
    Douglass: National Geographic Magazine, December 1929.

[3]For complete bibliography apply at the park museum or write to the
    Superintendent, Mesa Verde National Park.

[4]Copies in Mesa Verde Museum Library.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

--Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

--In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mesa Verde National Park" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.