Driving through Mesa Verde National Park (and World Heritage Site) in Colorado – if you don’t stop to look, I mean, really really look – you might just miss these stunning ruins. But take a moment to gaze across the rugged canyons that cut through the mesa and these incredible feats of architecture begin to pop out of the enclaves among the cliffs. They are palaces frozen in time, circa 1200.
The Ancient Puebloan people would literally climb these cliffs, with hand and toe holes dug into the rock, to get to the top of the mesa where they farmed their crops during the day. There are dozens of ruins like these spattered throughout Mesa Verde – each housing approximately 100 – 150 people. During the height of the Ancient Puebloan culture, this was the most population the Four Corners region (AZ, UT, CO, NM) had ever experienced – actually, the most population ever, even up until today.
The Ancient Puebloans were incredibly innovative too – it really makes you realize how much really hasn’t changed. They made baskets and pottery – mugs, spoons, bowls, and other vessels to preserve food that look as modern as what we may use today. The “ancient ones” carved sandstone bricks to build their houses, mixed plaster to coat the bricks, and even decorated the interior and exteriors with paint and illustrations. They even wove sandals and crafted jewelry. When you look back, it was such a different life, a different world – but so much of it is the same.
“All dreams spin out from the same web”
– Ancient Hopi Proverb –