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

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

Enrichment Package: Activity 6 -- How Do You Measure Up?: Answer Sheet


Spruce Tree House

1.

Utah juniper and pinyon pine: pinyon nuts for food, pinyon sap used for pot repair (as a glue and sealant), wood for fires, wood for building, juniper bark for food, for diapers and for starting fires, juniper berries for medicine.

2.

Tips of leaves for needles or awls; fiber from leaves for thread and paintbrushes; fruit pods and flowers for food; leaves for weaving sandals, mats, ropes; roots for soap.

3.

Rain and winter snowmelt slowly trickle down through the porous sandstone (which holds water like a sponge). The shale (which is more like plastic) located below the sandstone will not allow water to pass through it. So, when the water hits the shale and can no longer continue its downward journey, it seeps out, collects in depressions, and produces a seep spring.

4.

The six kivas were used primarily for ceremonies. When no ceremonies were taking place, the kiva may have been used for a work area such as weaving (probably by the men), a social gathering place, and a place for the family to spend cold winter nights. (There are actually nine kivas in Spruce Tree House, but only six are visible -- one is buried on the pathway into the dwelling, the other two are located behind a wall near the entrance.

5.

Temperature: A subterranean kiva remains about 50 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. Of course, the answer to this question will vary with the time of year you are visiting. In the summer it will be cooler and in the winter, it will be warmer.

Light: Answers will vary. Light is about half the intensity of outside.


 
Kiva diagram with six features labeled: ventilator, bench, air deflector, fire pit, sipapu, and pilaster

Kiva diagram

6. Ventilator: The shaft draws air into the kiva
Bench: Also called a banquette. It may have been used as a shelf for setting items. It also is the foundation on which the pilasters are built.
Air deflector: Deflects air entering kiva through ventilator shaft from blowing across fire pit. Also helps circulate the air around the kiva.
Fire pit: Provides warmth and light
Sipapu: Also known as a spirit entrance. For many mod­ern Pueblo people, such as the Hopi, the kiva’s sipapu represents the passageway through which the first people entered this world.
Pilaster: Pillars on which logs are set in a cribbing or overlapping fashion to construct the kiva’s roof.
 


7.

Many people feel that the shape was a matter of personal preference and each type had advantages and disadvantages. Some feel that a “T” shaped door is somehow symbolic and may be related to a clan or specific function. Other people have theorized that the "T" shaped doors lead to exterior areas instead of interior areas of the dwelling. Another explanation is that "T" shaped doors may be easier to enter because a person could place his or her hands on the ledges and swing their feet in through the lower part.

8.

Approximately 6 ft. by 8 ft.

9.

Answers will vary (Note: It may be helpful to have the students use the lists they created during activity #4)

10.

Wood fires. The wood was collected directly from their environment.

11.

Ask the park ranger on duty for help.

12.

There are at least five visible areas where you will note a red colored sandstone caused by burning at a high temperature. This would probably not be caused by a simple cooking fire, but by one that burned at a very high temperature, perhaps one that got out of control and burned the room. If you have trouble finding these, ask the park ranger on duty.

 
Separator bar with triangles
 
Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum


1.

It is thought that summers required little clothing, but skins and some textiles (shirts, aprons, etc. woven from cotton or yucca fiber) were probably worn. For warmth during the winter, people probably wore animal skins fashioned into robes, turkey feather blankets/robes (down feathers were twisted or woven in with the yucca fibers), and garments with strips of rabbit fur woven into them. We find little evidence of clothing (hides and textiles) due to their fragile nature and the fact that people probably took these items with them when they migrated out of the region.

2.

Miniature pots and clay figures.

3.

Dogs and possibly turkeys.

4.

Answers vary -- stone ax, stone knife, stone hammer, stone or bone awls, stone or bone scrapers, and digging sticks, etc.

5.

Hunting, gathering native plants, and farming.

Did You Know?

Zia Corn Dance

Descendants of Mesa Verde Ancestral Puebloans include the Hopi in Arizona, and the 19 Rio Grande pueblos of New Mexico: Taos, Picuris, Sandia, Isleta, San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Nambe, Tesuque, Jemez, Cochiti, Pojoaque, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Zia, Laguna, Acoma, and Zuni.