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

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

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Artifact Gallery -- Cradleboard


Cradleboards were similar to baby backpacks used today. The styles were flexible, protective, and decorative. Between A.D. 750 and A.D. 1100, cradleboards in Mesa Verde ceased to include soft padding, resulting in babies with the backs of their skulls flattened. This change was likely a result of evolving styles and cosmetic preferences, the flat skull being a preferred look, although another possible reason is that the solid board may have provided more support for babies’ fragile necks while their mothers were working.

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Did You Know?

The north courtyard of Balcony House

Contrary to popular belief, the Ancestral Puebloan people of Mesa Verde did not disappear. They migrated south to New Mexico and Arizona, and became today’s modern pueblo people.