Our foray into the Mesa Verde National Park began with an introduction to Crow Canyon’s first ever Native American Scholar in Residence, Deloria Lomawaima. After formally introducing all of ourselves to her, we set off on our journey. Our initial stop was an early Basketmaker III pithouse. This site is one of the largest and oldest pithouses in the region. Our next stop was at a site called Square Tower House. This was a Pueblo III village. It is an alcove site with eight kivas. The part I found fascinating was that the Puebloans used hand and toe holds to climb up the rock escarpment to reach their crops they were growing and harvesting on the top of the mesa. The next site we visited was a Pueblo I pithouse. This site contained a “proto-kiva” which had features that resembled a kiva but was still mainly a pithouse structure. Our last stop before lunch was a Pueblo II-III settlement. It had two kivas from the Pueblo II period that were decommissioned and had a Pueblo III tower built on top of them.
We came back from lunch and started our 1 pm tour of Cliff Palace with Ranger Drew. The Pueblo III architecture is impressive. The scale and design of these structures is a sight to behold. The initial view will take the visitor aback. You can find yourself almost envying the Puebloans with their lifestyle and domiciles. We eventually made our way down the stairs cut into the cliff to view these epic structures first-hand. The time we spent down at the base of Cliff Palace was fleeting. We made our way back to the top and said, “Good-bye” to Cliff Palace temporarily. We finished out our time at Mesa Verde with a stop at the gift shop and bookstore, where we purchased mementos and keepsakes to bring back to wherever part of the far-flung region we hail from. Mesa Verde beckons us to return.
Our day ends with a lecture in textiles from Kate in the archaeology lab. She informed us about the fine art of textile making, processing, and the different type of dyes the Pueblo people used. Kate also gave us first-hand experience on how to make yarn. It was an extremely informative lecture and demonstration.
- Chris Mayo