This is the House of Many Windows. Can you see? Look to the far left.
I'll zoom in a little closer.
Can you see now?
What about now?
You have to be able to see this by now?
The windows aren't really windows, but doors that would have been covered with either a stone slab or animal hide. There are 11 rooms and a kiva on a 10-foot wide ledge. If you look on the upper right, there's also another two rooms up there. Somewhere on that cliff wall is a toe hold trail between the lower and upper rooms. And another toe hold trail from the upper rooms to the mesa top.
I can't even begin to imagine how the Anasazi even accessed this!
The park ranger said that recent theories suggest that the Anasazi didn't live in the cliff dwellings as much as they used them for food storage. I find that a little difficult to believe. People don't build almost inaccessible dwellings unless forced to by extreme necessity.
"Actually," Diana said, frowning over the box of shards, "the most recent theory states that the Anasazi moved into their cliff houses for reasons other than fear."
Ten's left eyebrow arched skeptically. "They just liked the view halfway up the cliff, huh?"
"Um, no one said anything about that. The theory just states that we were premature in attributing a fortress mentality to the Anasazi. They could just have been preserving the top of the mesa for crops and didn't build on the canyon bottom because of floods. That left the cliffs themselves for housing." (Elizabeth Lowell, "Outlaw," pg. 125)
"In any case," Ten continued, "anybody who's read a little biology could tell your fancy theorists that building Stone Age apartment houses halfway up sheer cliffs took an immense amount of time and energy, which meant that the need driving the society also had to be immense. Survival is the most likely explanation, and the only animal that threaten man's survival is man himself." ("Outlaw," pg. 126-127)
"When you retreat to a stone cliff that's inaccessible only by one or two eyelash trails that a nine-year-old with a sharp stick could defend, it's probably because you don't have much more than nine-year-olds left to defend the village." ("Outlaw," pg. 126-127)
As I said, I'm sure the answer lies somewhere in between, but it seems insane to me to build these cliff houses merely for food storage. And then to abandon them a little more than a century later. Only extreme necessity, I think.
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
Mesa Verde National Park
P.O. Box 8
Mesa Verde, Colorado 81330
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, 100 Vietnamese Foods to Try.
2 years ago today, 3 of 7 random things about me meme: I make my own Homemade Body Scrub.