Monday, October 22, 2012

Cliff palace

The Pueblo people, the Native Americans of the US southwest, are named for the villages (Pueblos) they construct. While there are still vibrant pueblo communities today, the Anasazi, an ancient pueblo society, flourished between 900 and 1200 AD. ‘Cliff Palace’ was constructed in this Golden age of the Anasazi; dendrochronology dates most of the buildings at the site to ~1200 AD. Occupation of the site was short lived and it was abandoned by 1300 AD. It remained undiscovered in the desert, until 1888. While out
looking for stray cattle Richard Wetherill, Charles Mason and an Ute tribesman called Acowitz found the site nestled under a cliff wall. Their accidental discovery turned out to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America. ‘Cliff Palace’ is actually a misnomer as the site is more like a village than what we would understand as a palace. While the reason for the site’s abandonment is not certain, the widely accepted theory is that the first of the great droughts, that has been linked to the collapse of the Anasazi golden age, disrupted farming throughout the region.

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