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

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

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?

Cliff Palace in the snow

Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park. It has 150 rooms, plus an additional 75 open areas. Twenty-one of the rooms are kivas, and 25 to 30 rooms have residential features. The number of Ancestral Puebloans living in Cliff Palace at any one time was 100 to 120.