AnasaziSites

The Anasazi (or Hisatsinom) were Ancestral Pueblo people who lived in the
Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona until the Great
 Drought and other factors forced them to migrate in the 13th century. Known as the
Anasazi for many years (Navajo word meaning “ancient ones” or “enemy ancestors”),
and are also referred to by the Hopi term Hisatsinom, which means “ancient people”.
Their culture is known for the cliff dwellings and superb masonry skills, some of which
are detailed in the pages of this section (you might also want to visit the section on
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, which contains six pages detailing their
primary cultural center, built and occupied from approximately 850 to 1250).

This page is an overview, containing selections from the 130 images in this section,
detailed in the three sub-section pages: Mesa Verde National Park; Bandelier National
Monument; and Hovenweep & Aztec Ruins National Monuments in the Four Corners area.

Click a preview image for a larger version.
Use your back button to return to this page.
Click a Display Composite to visit the page.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links to images in this Section:

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings
New Mexico Pueblos & Bandelier
Aztec Ruins & Hovenweep

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

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Mesa Verde National Park contains some of the best-preserved Anasazi cliff-dwellings.
The most famous of these cliff dwellings is Cliff Palace, the largest in North America. Built
from 1190-1260, Cliff Palace and the other cliff dwellings were built due to a greater need for
defenses caused by increased competition. Mesa Verde is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Mesa Verde Cliff Palace X9765 9768 M
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This image is a composite of two images. The full-size image is a XXL (6000 x 2820).
This preview is larger than many preview images (1800 x 900) to allow examination of detail.

The Cliff Palace complex is the largest and best known of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. It is
an aggregate of various different sorts of dwellings and storehouses that accumulated over time.
This magnificent site contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas, providing living space for 100-150 people.

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Mesa Verde Mummy House X9730
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Mummy House was constructed on a narrow ledge below the top of Chapin Mesa, directly below the Sun Temple.

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Mesa Verde Mummy House Penthouse X9704
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Mounted in the shallow alcove above Mummy House is the “penthouse” structure, which may have been a granary.

The walls of the “penthouse” granary were intact when Mummy House was found, as it was protected by the overhang. The small structures on the ledge were in ruins. Only the wall stubs of the ten rooms and two Kivas remain, but several of these rooms must have stood two stories tall to allow access to the perfectly intact two story building above. A well-preserved mummy was found in the “penthouse”, from which Mummy House got its name.

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Mesa Verde Oak Tree House X9737
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Oak Tree House contains about 50 rooms and 6 Kivas. Some of the structures rose four stories to the roof of the inner alcove. There are storage rooms on the upper ledge. The secular rooms within the cave were roofless (the cave forming the roof, and in some cases, one of the room walls). They included living rooms, grinding and cooking rooms, and some storage rooms.

One of the more unusual walls found was made entirely of willow branches set in mud (rather than masonry), and some of the masonry walls were of the highest quality stonework present in cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde.

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Mesa Verde Spruce Tree House
Kivas 3 Story House X9794
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Kiva C in the foreground, and the largest plaza: Plaza C. The room at the  left center with most of the front wall gone is room 15. This room was so unstable that Fewkes mounted a beam between the lateral walls to support them.

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Mesa Verde Spruce Tree House
Central Kiva X9775
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From this angle, the Keyhole shape of Kiva E is apparent. Note how the boulder has been incorporated into the masonry wall. Room 35 at left which connects to the Kiva, was the best preserved room, with well-built fireplaces in the corners.

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Mesa Verde Spruce Tree House X9691
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Spruce Tree House is located below Chapin Mesa in a sandstone alcove near the largest spring
in Mesa Verde at the head of Spruce Tree Canyon. The alcove is 216 feet wide and 89 feet deep.
The cliff dwelling is the third largest in Mesa Verde, and it is considered to be the best preserved.
Spruce Tree House contains 114 sandstone and adobe living and storage rooms and eight Kivas.
The cliff dwelling was built between 1211-1278 AD, and was home to between 80 and 100 people.

For more images like those shown above, click the
Display Composite below to visit the Mesa Verde page.

MesaVerde
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Located at the southern end of the Pajarito (Little Bird) Plateau near Los Alamos, New Mexico,
the main attraction at Bandelier National Monument is Frijoles Canyon, which contains the ruins
of Anasazi cliff and cave dwellings, ceremonial Kivas, and a pueblo community called Tyuonyi.

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Kiva Alcove House Bandelier X5405
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Formerly known as Ceremonial Cave, Alcove House is located 140 feet above the floor
of Frijoles Canyon, and is accessed by four long wooden ladders and stone stairways.
It contains the niches and Viga holes of former residences and a reconstructed Kiva.

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Long House Bandelier X5220
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A view down the length of Long House. Structures built along the cliff were several layers deep and as many as four stories tall. Some of the structures made use of cavates in the cliff.

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Talus House Cavate Ladder Bandelier X5210
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One of the cavates (hollowed out caves in the Bandelier Tuff) accessed by a ladder. Some of the caves were living and working areas, others had a ceremonial function like Kivas.

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Talus House Bandelier X5463
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This multi-story structure called Talus House was reconstructed in 1920 to show people
what Talus House villages and Long House cliff dwellings looked like. Since then, it has been
determined that the construction was inaccurate in some respects (for instance, access to the
houses was via ladders and holes in the roof, rather than openings in the walls). Note the Viga
beams extending out from the structure. Vigas were adopted in Pueblo Revival architecture
which is seen throughout the Southwest, but modern vigas are ornamental, not functional.

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Tyuonyi Ruins Bandelier X5206
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The Northeast section of Tyuonyi is the deepest room block in the Pueblo. It is eight rooms deep in some sections.

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Cliff Face Bandelier X5438
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The cliff face in Frijoles Canyon against which the ruins of the Talus Houses and Long House are located.

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Tyuonyi Ruins Bandelier X5215
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Tyuonyi Village stands on the floor of Frijoles Canyon. It is the primary feature at Bandelier.
Tyuonyi was a staggered pueblo of 400 single-story and two-to-three-story rooms, but while
it has been excavated, it has not been restored. Only five feet of the first-story walls survive.

For more images like those shown above, click the
Display Composite below to visit the Bandelier page.

Bandelier
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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links to images in this Section:

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings
New Mexico Pueblos & Bandelier
Aztec Ruins & Hovenweep

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

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Hovenweep National Monument contains six Anasazi villages, the largest of which is
Square Tower Group in Little Ruin Canyon. Aztec Ruins was an outlier community of
Chaco Culture, and was built between 1085 and 1120. The West Ruin is the only fully
excavated site, and it also has the largest reconstructed Great Kiva in North America.

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Hovenweep Castle X9843
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One of the superb masonry pueblos of Little Ruin Canyon, Hovenweep Castle was a
dual structure. The West Tower and Northern Room Block form the Western section,
and the Eastern section was formed of a Northern Room Block, a Central Tower
with a Kiva on either side (North and South), and a Southern Room Block.

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Hovenweep House, Square Tower
and Hovenweep Castle X9857

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The head of Little Ruin Canyon, with Hovenweep Castle on the right, Square Tower (for which this group of ruins is named) in the center, and Hovenweep House on the left. In the low area between Hovenweep Castle and Hovenweep House, a small checkdam was built to capture runoff from the slick rock.

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Hovenweep Little Ruin Canyon Detail X9836c
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Some of the structures on the South side of the canyon include Rim Rock House (at right), Twin Towers and Eroded Boulder House (left). Twin Towers is one of the finest of the ancient buildings in the Southwest. Eroded Boulder House, shown from the North in the image below, is one of the most unusual structures in that it was built inside a boulder.

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Hovenweep Eroded Boulder Rim Rock House X9832
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Eroded Boulder House and Rim Rock House on the South side of Little Ruin Canyon.

Deep inside Eroded Boulder House, where the walls are protected, there are impressions
of hands and of a corncob which was used to press the mortar into the joints between stones.

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Hovenweep Square Tower X9853c
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Square Tower stands on a boulder next to the spring at the head of the South Fork of Little Ruin Canyon. The three story tower may have been used to guard the spring, but its location and appearance suggest use as a ceremonial structure. The existing walls have small vents or observation ports, and the walls are slightly twisted clockwise above the second story.

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Hovenweep Twin Towers
Tower Point Ruin X9876

(655 KB)

Twin Towers, with Tower Point Ruin and the canyon fork at the upper left. Twin Towers (as the name suggests) are adjacent tower structures This view from the Southeast shows the door on the flat side of the smaller horseshoe-shaped tower. Detail of the South walls of these superbly built towers is below.

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Hovenweep Twin Towers X9872
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The South facing walls of Twin Towers. On the left is the larger oval tower, and on the right,
a horseshoe-shaped tower. These are among the finest constructed buildings in the Southwest.
The towers exhibit multiple courses of variably sized stones, with ‘chinking’ stones in the mortar and
carefully dressed masonry. The Twin Towers had sixteen rooms. The door to the oval tower is in
the Southwest corner, along with a second story window with a view of the head of the canyon.

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Aztec Ruins was misnamed by early white settlers who thought that Aztec people created the pueblo.
The name stuck even after it was determined that Anasazi from Chaco Canyon had built the Great Houses.
Aztec Ruins is in northwestern New Mexico, north of the town of Aztec and not far from Farmington, NM.

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Aztec Ruins West Ruin X9671
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Constructed between 1085 and 1120, the West Ruin Great House has over 400 multi-story rooms,
12 Kivas and a Great Kiva which was restored by the National Park Service in 1934 under the direction
of Earl Morris, who headed the team of archaeologists who excavated the West Ruin in 1916-1922. The
West Ruin and the unexcavated East Ruin had access to water and rich valley bottom soil, and may have
acted as a source of food for the extremely arid but important ceremonial center south at Chaco Canyon
It was abandoned by 1300, when the people migrated Southeast to the Rio Grande and Little Colorado.

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Aztec Ruins West Ruin Kivas X9664
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View towards the East Wing from room 116, which shows two keyhole-shaped Kivas (Kiva J and Kiva H), each enclosed in a rectangular room. These Kivas were added in the 1200s, after people from Mesa Verde moved to Aztec.

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Aztec Ruins West Ruin Detail X9665
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Two rooms in the center of the Northern room block. This part of the structure is behind the large circular Kiva in the center of the North room block (Kiva L), which is built within a very large rectangular room (room 196)..

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Aztec Ruins T-shaped Doorway X9666
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A plaza-facing room entering the East Wing of the West Ruin at the corner of the North
room block. To the left is the wall of Kiva G. The foreground room (room 53) is one of the
rooms which had been modified by the Mesa Verde people in the 1200s. The sill of the
T-shaped door leading to the next room is nearly two feet above the original floor level,
indicating that it was constructed after the original. The T-shaped door is common
in many of the pueblos, including those at Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde.

For more images like those shown above, click the
Display Composite below to visit the Hovenweep/Aztec Ruins page.

Hovenweep_AztecRuins
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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 14 Sections in the Photoshelter Indian Lands & Anasazi Sites Collection

Direct Links to images in this Section:

Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings
New Mexico Pueblos & Bandelier
Aztec Ruins & Hovenweep

Indian Lands Select
(150 Selected images)

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MesaVerde


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Mesa Verde National Park page.

Bandelier


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Bandelier National Monument page.

Hovenweep_AztecRuins


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Hovenweep and Aztec Ruins page.

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ChacoCulture


Click the Display Composite above to visit the section on Chaco Culture,
the major cultural center of the Ancestral Pueblo people from 900 to 1350 AD.

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Click the Display Composite above to return to the Indian Lands and Anasazi Sites Index page.

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