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About Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

 

 

 

Mesa Verde National Park is a U.S. National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. It is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States. The park was created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world, or as he said, "preserve the works of man". It is the only cultural National Park set aside by the National Park System. It occupies 81.4 square miles (211 km2) near the Four Corners and features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the Ancient Pueblo peoples, sometimes called the Anasazi. There are over 4000 archaeological sites and over 600 cliff dwellings of the Pueblo people at the site.

The Anasazi inhabited Mesa Verde between 600 to 1300, though there is evidence they left before the start of the 15th century. They were mainly subsistence farmers, growing crops on nearby mesas. Their primary crop was corn, the major part of their diet. Men were also hunters, which further increased their food supply. The women of the Anasazi are famous for their elegant basket weaving. Anasazi pottery is as famous as their baskets; their artifacts are highly prized. The Anasazi kept no written records.

 

 

 

 

Mesa Verde National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
MesaVerdeNationalParkCliffPalace.jpg
Cliff Palace
Map showing the location of Mesa Verde National Park


By the year 750 the people were building mesa-top villages made of adobe. In the late 1190s they began to build the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is famous.

Mesa Verde is best known for cliff dwellings, which are structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs — including Cliff Palace, thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The Spanish term Mesa Verde translates into English as "green table". It is considered to contain some of the most notable and best preserved archaeological sites

 

 

 

 

National Park

 

 

Becoming a National Park

 

 

Virginia McClurg was diligent in her efforts between 1887 and 1906 to inform the United States and European community of the importance of protecting the important historical material and dwellings in Mesa Verde. Her efforts included enlisting support from 250,000 women through the Federation of Women's Clubs, writing and having published poems in popular magazines, giving speeches domestically and internationally, and forming the Colorado Cliff Dwellers Association. The Colorado Cliff Dwellers' purpose was to protect the resources of Colorado cliff dwellings, reclaiming as much of the original artifacts as possible and sharing information about the people who dwelt there. A fellow activist for protection of Mesa Verde and prehistoric archaeological sites included Lucy Peabody, who, located in Washington, D.C., met with members of Congress to further the cause.

Former Mesa Verde National Park superintendent Robert Heyder communicated his belief that the park might have been far more significant with the hundreds of artifacts taken by Nordenskiöld.

 

 

 

 

J. Walter Fewkes at Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, circa 1910.
By the end of the 19th century, it was clear that Mesa Verde needed protection from people in general who came to Mesa Verde and created or sold their own collection of artifacts. In a report to the Secretary of the InteriorSmithsonian Institution Ethnologist J. Walter Fewkes described vandalism at Mesa Verde's Cliff Palace:
Parties of "curio seekers" camped on the ruin for several winters, and it is reported that many hundred specimens there have been carried down the mesa and sold to private individuals. Some of these objects are now in museums, but many are forever lost to science. In order to secure this valuable archaeological material, walls were broken down [...] often simply to let light into the darker rooms; floors were invariably opened and buried kivas mutilated. To facilitate this work and get rid of the dust, great openings were broken through the five walls which form the front of the ruin. Beams were used for firewood to so great an extent that not a single roof now remains. This work of destruction, added to that resulting from erosion due to rain, left Cliff Palace in a sad condition


 

 

Park services


 

 

 

 

Park Ranger giving a tour at Mesa Verde National Park

 

 

Mesa Verde's park entrance is on U.S. Route 160, about 9 miles (14 km) east of the community of Cortez and about 7 miles (11 km) west ofMancos, Colorado.

The park protects over 4,000 archaeological sites, including 600 separate cliff dwellings.

Of the park's 600 separate cliff dwellings, 230 of them have been assessed for damage, and may be repaired in the coming years.

The Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center is located just off of Highway 160 and is before the park entrance booths. The Visitor and Research Center opened in December 2012. Chapin Mesa (the most popular area) is 20 miles (32 km) beyond the visitor center.

Park facilities and access:

Mesa Verde National Park is an area of federal exclusive jurisdiction. Because of this all law enforcement, emergency medical service, and wildland/structural fire duties are conducted by federal National Park Service Law Enforcement Rangers.

The Mesa Verde National Park Post Office has the ZIP Code 81330

 

 

Neighboring Ute Mountain Tribal Park

 

 

 

The Ute Mountain Tribal Park, adjoining Mesa Verde National Park to the east of the mountains, is approximately 125,000 acres (51,000 ha) along the Mancos River. Hundreds of surface sites, cliff dwellings, petroglyphs and wall paintings of Ancestral Puebloan and Ute cultures are preserved in the park. Native American Ute tour guides provide background information about the people, culture and history who lived in the park lands. National Geographic Traveler chose it as one of "80 World Destinations for Travel in the 21st Century", one of only nine places selected in the United States

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa_Verde_National_Park


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