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10:22am on January 22nd, 2013

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  • cliff
  • palace
  • cliff palace
  • mesa verde
  • mesa
  • national park
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    Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, CO, c. 1190-1260 CE

    '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 Palace was constructed primarily out of sandstone, mortar and wooden beams. The sandstone was shaped using harder stones, and a mortar of soil, water and ash was used to hold everything together. “Chinking” stones were placed within the mortar to fill gaps and provide stability. Many of the walls were decorated with colored earthen plasters, which were the first to erode over time. Many visitors wonder about the relatively small size of the doorways at Cliff Palace; the explanation being that at the time the average man was under 5’ 6”, while the average woman was closer to 5’. The Cliff Palace contains 23 kivas (round sunken rooms of ceremonial importance), and 150 rooms and had a population of approximately 100 people. One kiva, in the center of the ruin, is at a point where the entire structure is partitioned by a series of walls with no doorways or other access portals. The walls of this kiva were plastered with one color on one side and a different color on the opposing side. It is estimated that around 100 people inhabited Cliff Palace during its time of use. It is thought that Cliff Palace was a social, administrative site with high ceremonial usage.’