Artifact Gallery -- Basket
There is a whole group of Ancestral Pueblo people called the Basketmakers because of their superior basket making skills. The basket pictured, most likely dating from A.D. 450-750, shows the intricacy of woven patterns created by people in the Mesa Verde region as they began to transition from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural lifestyle. Not only were baskets used for collecting seeds, nuts, fruits, and berries, but they were sometimes coated with pitch on the inside, which allowed them to hold water and tolerate heat.
Baskets were also used for cooking, as an alternative to roasting food over hot coals. People could heat stones in the fire and then drop them into the baskets. Seeds were parched or roasted by placing warm stones in with the seeds and then shaking them together.
Did You Know?
The Ancestral Puebloans inhabited Mesa Verde for more than 700 years (550 A.D. to 1300 A.D.), but for the first six centuries, they primarily lived on the mesa tops. It was not until the final 75 to 100 years that they constructed and lived in the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is known.