The first archeological evidence we have of people living at Mesa Verde is about 550 CE, during the Basketmaker III period (500 to 750 CE). Although Ancestral Pueblo people have always made baskets, they are known to have had superior basketmaking skills and created particularly beautiful baskets during this time.
The baskets in the photo above most likely date between 450-750 CE, and show the intricacy of woven patterns created by people in the Mesa Verde region as they transitioned 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 heated stones in the fire and then dropped them into the baskets. Seeds were parched or roasted by placing warm stones in with the seeds and then shaking them together.
Last updated: May 12, 2020