14 July 2010
The Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The structure built by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples is located in Mesa Verde National Park in their former homeland region. The cliff dwelling and park are in the southwestern corner of Colorado, in the Southwestern United States.
Mesa Verde National Park is a U.S. National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. It was created in 1906 to protect some of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the world. The park occupies 81.4 square miles (211 km2) (211 square kilometers) near the Four Corners and features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the Ancestral Puebloan people, sometimes called the Anasazi. The Ancestral Puebloans made these stone villages their home in the 13th century, however, the first Ancestral Puebloans settled in Mesa Verde over 600 years before the cliff dwellings were ever built. These first people are known as the Basketmakers and they lived in pithouses clustered into small villages usually built on mesa tops but sometimes in the overhangs of the cliffs. These hunter gatherer people settled and began farming and using the bow and arrow, a weapon that was more efficient and accurate than the atlatl.
By 750 CE, the people were building mesa-top villages made of adobe. By the late 12th century they began to build the cliff dwellings for which Mesa Verde is famous. The Spanish term Mesa Verde translates into English as "green table." Approximately 600 of the over 4700 archeological sites found in Mesa Verde National Park are cliff dwellings,
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