Friday, July 25, 2008

Spruce House at Mesa Verde

While on vacation we stopped at a few of the Anasazi sites in the Four Corners area. At Mesa Verde we visited the cliff dwelling ruins which were built in the 1200's by ancient Puebloans commonly called Anasazi although that name is Navajo and actually means "enemy ancestors".

The Anasazi were some of the original American Homesteaders. Their culture evolved from early hunting and gathering to farming the "three sisters" which consist of corn, beans and squash in a symbiotic planting arrangement whereby beans grew up the cornstalks and fixed nitrogen to the soil which the corn required while the squash provided shade the soil which helped retain moisture for all three. This practice is currently part of the permaculture repertoire of gardening techniques.

In order to farm the Anasazi needed to stay near the crops so they built adobe homes which were sometimes large elaborate compounds of 50 or more rooms. During the last 100 years or so before leaving Mesa Verde, they built in highly defensible positions under the overhangs of cliffs.

Spruce Tree House is one of the 3 largest cliff houses but there are dozens scattered about Mesa Verde. The photos hardly do it justice.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.