Today we drove to Cortez, and then north to the Anasazi Heritage Center, located in Dolores, which is a museum of the Ancestral Pueblo culture and other Native cultures in the Four Corners region. The Heritage Center, in operation since 1988, is a fabulous museum of millions of artifacts and displays showing the life of the native pueblo people, who resided in permanent communities called pueblos and grew their own crops. We saw many artifacts of tools for hunting and cooking, pottery, basketry in many colors, and a loom where one could try their skill at weaving. There were two pueblo ruins outside the Heritage Center, the Dominguez Pueblo, an example of an independent family homes outside the main pueblo, and the Escalante Pueblo constructed in 1120 to 1130 AD and made of groupings of stone walled family and common rooms, and a kiva. There was more to see at this pueblo, and it had great views of the Great Sage Plains and the McFee Reservoir. It was well worth the walk up the hill to view this ruin and see the views, but we had to leave and continue on our quest for more ruins at Mesa Verde. Click on thumbnail to view Continue reading
Today we drove to Mesa Verde National Park, created in 1906 to preserve the archeological heritage of the American Pueblo people. The Park includes over 4,500 archeological sites; only 600 are cliff dwellings and we took a tour through one of them, Balcony House. This is one of the best preserved sites in the Park.
Balcony House and Cliff Palace
The builders of Balcony House are known as Ancestral Pueblo people, beginning about A.D. 1200, many chose to build their homes in the cliff-side alcoves. We started at the top of the cliff and walked down several flights of steel stairs with great views looking down into the Soda Canyon; and Balcony House is built 600 feet above the Canyon floor. Continue reading