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

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

Artifact Gallery -- Mug

Black-on-white mug

This mug, made in the 13th century (A.D. 1200s), represents the exceptional artistic expression of the Ancestral Puebloan people. Mesa Verde pottery typically featured black geometric patterns applied with a yucca paintbrush on a grayish white background. These patterns were remarkable for their balance and design.

Pottery first appeared in Mexico, and by A.D. 400 to A.D. 500, it was made in Mesa Verde. Ancestral Puebloans experimented with adding a tempering material such as sand or finely ground grit from the region to keep pottery from cracking as it dried. The pottery was then fired and decorated using dye from Beeweed, which satisfied both utilitarian and aesthetic uses.

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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.