This is one of those places that you look at and scratch your head. How in the heck did the hole in the roof of this alcove get to be so perfectly round? And was it there 1,000 years ago when the Anasazi (or Ancestral Puebloans if you prefer) lived here? Not that they would have had too much rain or snow to worry about. Still, that dark stripe down the wall was made by water. Every now and then it gets wet in here. Which could have made life interesting.
As I’ve said before, the history and culture of these people fascinates me. After visiting places like Canyon de Chelly, Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot, Bandelier, and Walnut Canyon, I have to go back. I still haven’t seen places like Mesa Verde or Choco Canyon or Hovenweap. Places that were built centuries ago; some of which contain structures that are 4 or 5 stories high. Places that were built into the sides of cliffs and look to be accessible only to Bighorn Sheep. Places that look defensive in nature. But “defensive” from what? Why live in the middle of a cliff? Why make daily life harder? Life was hard enough. Most adults lived only into their 40’s. Half of all children never made it past the age of 5. And yet they built these amazing structures, engaged in sophisticated commerce, studied the stars. In many ways, they were equal to or ahead of their European contemporaries. Not to mention their Mayan neighbors to the south.
And so we’ll go west one more time. Well, at least one more time. While I’m still young enough to climb the ladders at Mesa Verde 🙂
Not that I’m likely to find any answers. People have been studying these ancient Americans for years and haven’t come up with definitive reasons for the cliff dwellings themselves or for their abandonment around 1300 AD. But seeing these sites up close is far better than looking at pictures and reading about them. That’s one way to learn, of course, but I’d rather be able to reach out and touch them. I’d rather be able to feel the stones, climb the stairs and ladders, sit inside the kivas.
The hard part will be heading back out into my own world.