Artifact Gallery - Kiva Courtyards

Kiva courtyard showing kiva roof, kiva entrance, and ladder with pueblo rooms in background
Kiva Courtyard

While kivas were used for a variety of purposes, their roofs served as a central courtyard where daily work and living took place. You might have found women grinding corn or preparing food, while men made tools or wove cloth. The doors you see bordering the courtyard were small, possibly because the smaller entryways kept rooms warmer at night, especially during winter months.

You may notice that entry to the kiva involves climbing a ladder down into the earth. This may have served as a reminder of where Ancestral Pueblo people believed they came from. It also possibly allowed the people to be cleansed by ritual smoke as they entered the kiva.

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Last updated: April 18, 2020

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