Cliff Palace – The ancient cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park

The construction and refurbishing of palace was continuous approximately  from 1190 CE through 1260 CE. Cliff Palace was abandoned by 1300, and rediscovered in 1888 by Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason.

Sandstone, mortar and wooden beams were the three primary construction materials for the cliff dwellings. The Ancestral Pueblo people shaped each sandstone block using harder stones collected from nearby river beds.

Cliff Palace was built by the Puebloans ancestors. The Ancestral Pueblo people’s average life span was relatively short, due, in part, to the high infant mortality rate / Image source

Many of the walls were decorated with colored earthen plasters, which were the first to erode over time. Cliff Palace contains 23 kivas (large rooms that are circular and underground and used for spiritual ceremonies) and 150 rooms and had a population of approximately 100 people.

Cliff Palace was perhaps, a social, administrative center with ceremonial usage of a large polity that included surrounding small communities.

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