探访印第安人神秘岩居 Mysterious and Sacred Mesa Verde
From A.D. 600 to A.D 1300, about 30,000 American Indians built their houses along the cliff of Navajo Canyon and Cliff Canyon in Colorado.
Why did they choose this particular location? Drought or conflict or religion or other reasons?
How did they survive here? What did they eat? How did they get water? How did they build houses? How did they keep their house warm in the harsh winter? How did they raise kids? How did their community develop, thrive and function?
Why did they all leave after hundreds of years of hard work and development? Where did they head to?
With all the questions and curiosity, we visited Mesa Verde National Park on May 20th 2016.
访客中心 Visitor Center of Mesa Verde National Park
Cliff峡谷 Cliff Canyon
Mesa Verde的基本旅游信息可以参考官方网站 https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm。
We visited Mesa Verde on our way to Druango for Silverton scenic train ride, details recorded in travel blog: http://www.mafengwo.cn/i/5517172.html. It took us about 6 hours to glance the major sites at Mesa Verde.
For basic tour info, I found this website is very informative, https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm.
Cliff Palace, the biggest cliff dwelling community in Mesa Verde.
Spruce Tree House, the best preserved cliff dwelling site. It used to be one of the few self-guided sites but was closed since Dec 2015 due to falling rocks.
Fortunately, we had a chance to listen to a Four-Corner Lecture about research on development of this 173 room village community. The researcher used the sequence of the room building to analyze how the cliff dwelling site was developed from one family to a village. She also had an opportunity to interview the descendants from Spruce Tree House, who are living in the south of America, and was told the reason for the residents to leave was not any external force, but it was their Indian spiritual guide and community decision. Mesa Verde is still the sacred place in the hearts of the descendants.
In order to have a close look at the cliff dwelling, my nephew, husband and I, paid a ranger-guided tour to Balcony House, which was right under where we were standing.
Balcony House was well structured in the cliff.
You can get a spectacular view from Balcony House. I am wondering this is how her name came from
Using ladder is how we access Balcony House now. Did the residents come and go by climbing the stiff rocks, like the statue at the visitor center?
Rock roof seems efficient.
The upper small square rooms were for living. The lower big round rooms were for family or community ritual purpose.
The houses were structured by bricks and woods.
Some rock tools... for grinding or cutting? of food or herbs?
On the back wall of the house, water comes out of the rock and can be collected. If it was the way to obtain precious and essential water for living and farming, was the amount enough to sustain? Ranger told us the water amount dramatically decreased after the parking lot above was built.
This dark east-facing room is the most mysterious. The sun light through a small window on the east wall will landing on certain bricks on the west wall and tells the date of calendar. For a community relied on farming, to predict the weather, especially the rain, was very critical.
离开阳台屋 Leaving Balcony House.
Beside cliff dwelling, there are thousands of houses in other styles. The above is a typical pit house. The below a few photos were taken at Far View Village.
未完成的太阳圣殿 Unfinished Sun Temple.
During our visit, we were very excited to find more cliff dwellings than the ones marked in the tour book. Some are well preserved, some are disappearing, some made us wondering...
Left Mesa Verde with more questions, we encountered Sleeping Indian. Can you tell the folding hands on his chest and some feather above his head?