After a lunch of bison sausage and Navajo fry bread tacos at Spruce Tree Terrace Cafe, we made our way over to the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum to learn a little more about the history of the Anasazi. The museum is located in the same parking area as the restaurant and the Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling so it's an easy and quick stop since we were already there.
And it's free!
Dioramas depicting the history of early man in the Four Corners area. They were hunters and gatherers here 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.
Early Basketmaker II Era, about 1200 B.C. to 50 A.D. The people lived in caves and wove baskets, hence the name. They had not invented pottery yet.
Late Basketmaker II Era, 50 A.D. to 500 A.D., the people began building shallow pithouses.
The pithouses got deeper and then eventually became above-ground pueblos.
Pueblo Era, 750 A.D. to 1300 A.D. These are the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is mostly known.
The hole in the ground is a kiva, used for ceremonial purposes. The round pits that you saw in Balcony House and Cliff Palace were kivas.
Some of the artifacts that were found included deer hoof rattles.
A cutting board.
A thousand years ago and crutches are still basically the same.
A bag obviously made from an animal's skin.
Around 750 to 900 A.D., in what is considered the Pueblo I era, the Anasazi invented pottery.
Some more decorative pottery.
Much more elaborate ladles.
Pithouses were initially constructed because they were cooler during the dry, hot summers.
The interior of a pithouse.
The round underground chamber was a kiva.
The hole in the center is for fire and the smaller hole represents the entrance into the underworld.
Logs would build up the roof until it was almost completely covered, with just a hole through the center for entrance.
Eventually, the pithouses became above-ground adobe houses.
The stone adobe houses comprise the majority of the cliff dwellings.
Which are still used in southwest architecture today.
Remember this corner of the museum. I'll be using it as a reference point later during our hike.
Onward to Spruce Tree House.
Posts in this series:
Sadie's of New Mexico - Albuquerque - New Mexico
Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum - Albuquerque - New Mexico
Shiprock - New Mexico
Ted's Taco - Mancos - Colorado
Balcony House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
House of Many Windows - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Hemenway House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Cliff Palace - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Spruce Tree Terrace Cafe - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Spruce Tree House - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Petroglyph Point Trail - Mesa Verde National Park - Colorado
Cortez Cultural Center - Cortez - Colorado
Main Street Brewery & Restaurant - Cortez - Colorado
Absolute Bakery & Cafe - Mancos - Colorado
Four Corners Monument - Shiprock - New Mexico
Pine Country Restaurant - Williams - Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) - Arizona
Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum
Mesa Verde National Park
P.O. Box 8
Mesa Verde, Colorado 81330
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
7-day vehicle fee $10, $15 from Memorial Day to Labor Day
$3 tickets are required to take ranger-guided tours of Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House. Tickets may be purchased from inside the park at Far View Visitor Center and must be purchased in person.
1 year ago today, Banana and Coconut Frozen Yogurt Popsicles.
2 years ago today, no-soak rice paper.