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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Exploring an Ancient Civilization

By far, one of the most amazing experiences on our vacation (for me, anyway) was exploring Mesa Verde. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and you can see why:

Mesa Verde was home to the ancestral Pueblo people, who lived there from 600 to 1300 AD.

We toured the Spruce Tree House on our own.

Spruce Tree House - the best preserved of all of the cliff dwellings

Then we joined up with a larger group for a Ranger-led guided tour of the Cliff Palace.

I included this shot - same view as the 1st photo - to give
perspective on how large the structure is.

Ever resourceful, the builders used any convenient materials
to chink and shore up the building structure...including
used corn cobs.
Finally, we took a more challenging Ranger-led guided tour of the Balcony House.

30-foot ladder to access the site

Balcony House is so-named because of the balconies
within the dwelling

These pits are called "kivas." They were underground
ceremonial and family spaces, and would have originally had wooden
roofs. Roofs were plastered, forming a nice plaza at surface level.

The tour included a tight tunnel to get from one side
of the site to the other (and the exit!).

The most challenging part of the tour was the
rock face hike out. Yikes!

I would encourage you to put Mesa Verde on your list of must-see places in the world. UNESCO has...and for good reason. It is a unique and very special place.

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