1. Mesa Verde

The "green table" as it is translated in Spanish, is most likely the best known of all of ancestral Puebloan sites. Within the National Park, over 600 cliff dwellings and thousands of other sites can be found. Mesa Verde culture was at its peak from 1100 to the late 1200's A.D. The people were eventually forced to leave by a long-term drought that began in 1276. There is some evidence that indicates the people may have occupied Chaco Canyon for a short amount of time in 1300s. The relationship between the two cultures is not well understood.

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Mesa Verde

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Pueblo Bonito
2. Pueblo Bonito is perfectly aligned with the cardinal directions the southern wall runs along the east-west axis and a perpendicular line drawn from the wall through the center of the curve would point directly north. In addition to having possible religious and cultural significance, this alignment would help people track the seasons, telling them when to plant and when to prepare for winter.

3. During excavation, some of the structure may have been destroyed or altered as the restoration process occurred. There is controversy surrounding whether some of the features of the building are original or not, such as the window the sun only shines through on summer solstice.


4. Pueblo Bonito, although crumbling, is actually fairly well preserved for how long its been around.

It appears to be made from stone stacking, in contrast to some ancient buildings made from adobe, this technique takes much more time to build, and lends to long lived history.

There is a large kiva in the main plaza, kivas were probably used for worship ceremonies.

5. "Threatening Rock" is located just above Pueblo Bonito. Ancient Chacoans built beneath the base of the rock, presumably to stop erosion, and added large support beams into the cracks at the bottom of the rock. In addition, evidence has been found of spiritual measures of protection, as ritual prayer sticks have been found in the crevices of the rock. Threatening Rock did eventually collapse however, destroying many buildings and homes.
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Threatening Rock

6. The crescent shape appears to represent the phase of the moon at the time of the explosion of the supernova, while the star is thought to represent the supernova itself. The handprint seems to be some type of a signature. the death explosion of a massive star created the supernova event, and what is left behind is the Crab Nebula.


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Supernova Pictograph