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Aztec Ruins

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Yucca House

Glimpses of Our
National Monuments


Yucca House
Mounds covering Yucca House ruins.

This monument, established December 19, 1919, preserves the ruins of a prehistoric village in southwestern Colorado a few miles west of Mesa Verde National Park. The site chosen by its builders is on the gently sloping base of Sleeping Ute, a mountain so named because from one point of view, when silhouetted against the horizon, it resembles the outline of a sleeping Indian. The village is now a cluster of mounds with no sign of a wall rising above their surfaces, but on account of their large size and extent there is every reason to believe that when excavated they will prove of great archeological interest amid educational value. The land upon which the ruins are situated, approximately 10 acres, was the gift of the late Mr. Henry Van Kleeck, of Denver, Colo.

The ruins have been known for many years and were first described by Prof. William H. Holmes in 1877, the two most conspicuous mounds being designated by him as the "Upper House" and the "Lower House." The former is the most prominent of all the mounds of the ancient village, rising to a height of from 15 to 20 feet above its foundation, and dominating the many smaller mounds by which it is surrounded. The Lower House in its essential features is different and stands isolated by a hundred yards from the cluster of mounds that compose and include the Upper House.

The stone used in the buildings is chiefly of the fossiliferous limestone that outcrops along the base of the Mesa Verde a mile or more away, and its transportation to the site of the village must have entailed a great work for people so totally without facilities.

The name Yucca House was selected for the monument because the Indians of Montezuma Valley called Sleeping Ute Mountain by a name meaning Yucca, which they gave to it on account of the abundance of the Yucca plant which grows on the mountain sides.

The monument is located a little off the well-traveled road from Cortez, Colo., to Shiprock, N. Mex., about 15 miles south of Cortez. It is under the supervision of the superintendent of Southwestern Monuments. No custodian has yet been appointed.


Last Modified: Thurs, Oct 19 2000 10:00:00 pm PDT

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