Dismantled Towers and Turrets Broken

Dismantled Towers and Turreta Broken - Cliff Palace in the Mesa Verde, Colorado.
Mesa Verde National Park is in the southwest corner of Colorado. The word mesa means table. The Mesa Verde is 15 miles long and 8 miles wide. At its foot are piles of broken rocks which rise to a height of 500 feet above the bare plains. The Mesa Verde rises above these rocky foothills 200 or 300 feet. It is on the bank of the Mancos River, to which beds of former streams cut narrow, irregular canyons. In the side of one of these canyons are the cliff dwellings you see here.

Who lived here nobody knows, but many guesses have been made. Perhaps they were Indians, or perhaps a race that thrived before the Indians. These people may have been related to the Aztecs of Mexico, or to the present Pueblos of the southwestern United States. They built their cliff houses along the steep walls of the canyons for protection. They were farmers, tilling their small fields of corn. This corn they ground between flat stones, and they baked their bread on flat stones. They had stone and clay vessels, well made, and often artistically decorated. They had no written language, but used only a few signs which are still to be seen on the cliffs. They worshipped the sun.

The "castle" before us is one of the largest and most complete of these habitations. The age of the ruins is estimated at from five hundred to a thousand years. Pottery, implements, remains of wearing apparel, and mummified bodies are found. The walls are skillfully constructed of native adobe clay.

The work is all primitive, yet the effect of feudal architecture is suggested. The doors and windows, which are somewhat square, have wooden lintels and appear to have been closed by stone slabs, skins or blankets.

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