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dick wood | profile | all galleries >> 2017 May, June & July-Equinunk & Freeland-Return to Tucson >> Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona-Canyons of the Ancients NM, Mesa Verde NP, Navajo NM, Home tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona-Canyons of the Ancients NM, Mesa Verde NP, Navajo NM, Home

Canyons of the Ancients NM
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is a National Monument protecting an archaeologically-significant landscape located in the southwestern region of Colorado. The monument's 176,056 acres are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Ancient Pueblo people lived in the Canyons of the Ancients in the 10th century. At least 6,000 distinct structures have been identified in the monument, and the density of archeological remains is the highest of any region in the United States. The vast majority of stone structures in the national monument are from the Ancient Puebloans era. In some places more than 100 sites per square mile have been identified.

The Anasazi Heritage Center is located in Dolores CO and is the Visitorís Center for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. It serves as an archaeological museum of Native American pueblo and hunter-gather cultures. The Ancient Pueblo people may have lived in the Four Corners area as early as 1500 BCE (Before Common Era). It includes artifacts from the monument; a museum with interactive exhibits; a library and a theatre. Information is available there regarding the Ancient Puebloan culture, Trail of the Ancients Byway and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.



Mesa Verde NP
Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from AD 600 to 1300. Today the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

About 1,400 years ago, long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region, chose Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away. Mesa Verde National Park preserves a spectacular reminder of this ancient culture. Why did they make this move? We donít know. Perhaps it was for defense; perhaps it was for religious or psychological reasons. The enclosed photos of Cliff House and Long House, the largest cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde, are stock photos, available at the Visitorís Center

Navajo NM
The prehistoric Puebloan Ancestors built the Tsegi Phase villages within the natural sandstone alcoves of the canyons in the National Monument. The resilient Ancestral Puebloans paved the way for current Native American groups in the Southwest region. These villages, which date from AD 1250 to 1300, thrill all who visit with original architectural elements such as roof beams, masonry walls, rock art, and hand and foot holds. Located in the heart of the western section of the Navajo reservation, Navajo National Monument comprises three sections, none of which are contiguous. The main section, referred to by the name of the cliff dwelling it was established to protect, Betatakin, includes 160 acres of government land and a 244.59-acre section of land used under the terms of an agreement with the Navajo Nation. The Keet Seel section, about eight miles cross-country from Betatakin, contains one of the most important large Pueblo ruins in the Southwest within its 160-acre boundary. Inscription House, the third section and also named for its primary ruin, is forty miles away in Nitsin Canyon.

Keet Seel or Kiet Siel (KŠtsʼiil), which stands for broken house in Navajo, is a well preserved cliff dwelling of the ancient Anasazi people.Most of Keet Seel has remained unchanged for 700 years The site was first occupied at around 1250 BCE. The Ancestral Puebloan people farmed the canyons, enabling them to flourish in this high desert environment. They hunted wild game and grew corn, beans, and squash. The ancestors of the Hopi, Navajo and Zuni (Hisatsinom) lived here for hundreds of years. The enclosed photo of the Keet Seel ruin is a stock photo available at the NM Visitorís Center.

We continued on our journey to Flagstaff where we spent the night and then on the next day we were home before noon. It was a wonderful trip and a very educational one.
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