We've all heard of the cliff dwellers & seen pictures of the large buildings built under the overhang high up off the canyon floor. What's the most surprising to me was the time line of these famous dwellings.
|Mesa Verde cliff dwelling|
The people lived on the top of the plateau for hundreds of years. First in pit houses & they worked up to full fledged pueblos.
Then about the year 1200 they moved off the plateaus and built the cliff dwellings we are all familiar with.
|Mesa Verde with the upstairs visible|
One hundred years later they abandoned the cliff dwellings & left. It's not just here in Mesa Verde either... All the work & 100 years later they left.
For what it's worth the Little Ice Age is generally given a start date of 1250-1300.
At the Navajo National Monument they only occupied the place for 35 years.
|Navajo National Monument|
These places are worth the time it takes to see them. I was also really impressed with Chato Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.
There is a campground in Mesa Verde NP, nice place, there is also dispersed free camping just outside the gate.
Inside the park the showers, the RV dump & water fill are free. The cliff dwellings are a bit of a drive into the park.
Durango to the east was a really nice little town as is Cortez to the west.