Prehistoric Villages, Castles, and Towers of Southwestern Colorado

Prehistoric Villages, Castles, and Towers of Southwestern Colorado

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Prehistoric Villages, Castles, and Towers of Southwestern Colorado

Prehistoric Villages, Castles, and Towers of Southwestern Colorado

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The science of archaeology has contributed to our knowledge some of the most fascinating chapters in culture history, for it has brought to light, from the night of the past, periods of human development hitherto unrecorded. As the paleontologist through his method has revealed faunas whose like were formerly unknown to the naturalist, the archeologist by the use of the same method of research has resurrected extinct phases of culture that have attained a high development and declined before recorded history began. No achievements in American anthropology are more striking than those that, from a study of human buildings and artifacts antedating the historic period, reveal the existence of an advanced prehistoric culture of man in America.

The evidences of a phase of culture that had developed and was on the decline before the interior of North America was explored by Europeans are nowhere better shown than in southwestern Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, the domain of the Cliff-dwellers, or the cradle of the Pueblos. There flourished on what is now called the Mesa Verde National Park, in prehistoric times, a characteristic culture unlike that of any region in the United States. This culture reached its apogee and declined before the historic epoch, but did not perish before it had left an influence extending over a wide territory, which persisted into modern times. Through the researches of archeologists the nature of this culture is now emerging into full view; but much material yet remains awaiting investigation before it can be adequately understood. The purpose of this article is to call attention to new observations bearing upon its interpretation made by the author, under the auspices of the Bureau of American Ethnology, on brief trips to Colorado and Utah in 1917 and 1918.

The peculiar cliff-dwellings and open-air villages of the Mesa Verde are here shown to be typical of those found over a region many miles in extent. They indicate a distinct culture area, which is easily distinguished from others where similar buildings do not exist, but . . .

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