• View of Square Tower House, seen along the Mesa Top Loop

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

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Artifact Gallery

Not long ago, students were taught the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) people “disappeared” from Mesa Verde after a drought of over 20 years drove them out. According to legend, these people were never seen again.

Now we know differently. It is the story of 24 Southwestern tribes, including the Hopi, Zuni, and numerous Pueblos whose oral history links them to the Ancestral Puebloans once inhabiting the mesa tops and cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. Archeologists support this connection by noting the similarities between artifacts and cliff dwellings discovered at the ancient sites, and the traditions, structures, and cultural objects used by today’s tribes.

While the stories told about these ancient people have changed over time, try to form your own stories about these people by studying the artifacts they have left behind. Look at these pictures, and see if you can begin to imagine the life they must have led. How do you think these items were used? What do they tell us about the people who made and used them? What questions do these artifacts raise? Most importantly, what does all this mean for us today?

Click on the images below to see a larger view and information about each item.




Basket

 

Sandal

 

Cradleboard

 

Shell Necklace

 

Mano and Metate

 

Stone Spear and Knife

 

Mug

 

Petroglyph

 

Wall Painting

 

Cliff Palace

 

Kiva

 

Kiva Courtyard

Did You Know?

Baron Gustaf Nordenskiold

In 1891, Swedish scientist Gustaf Nordenskiold studied, explored, and photographed many of Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings. Considered by many to be the first true archeologist at Mesa Verde, his book, "The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde," was the first extensive record of its cliff dwellings.