Saturday, June 26, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : The Ancient Ones

Some of the most stunning vistas in the world are in Colorado - Pike's Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National Park....wait! Did I say Mesa Verde? Why, yes I did. Those stunning vistas I mentioned a few words back are truly astounding...villages built into the sides of sheer cliffs, indicating, for the times, an advanced civilization. Rock engravings, or petroglyphs,  and pictographs (rock drawings) on the stone walls of the village give us insights regarding the daily lives of these early Americans such as how they saw the world around them and what they hunted for food.

The story of the Ancient Ones is believed to have begun around 1200 B.C. They flourished for many years, then all of the sudden (or so it seems), disappeared. How and why the Anasazi suddenly vanished is a mystery still in need of a solution today. Although the Spanish explored the area in and around Mesa Verde (Spanish for "green table") in the 1700's, it appears that the first outsiders to see the cliff dwellings did so in the last half of the 19th Century. These magnificent structures were regularly vandalized, therefore in order to help protect them from such destruction, President Teddy Roosevelt declared Mesa Verde to become a National Park in 1906.

What an incredible, if not spiritual, place Mesa Verde is and it stands as a Monument to the ingenuity and engineering skills of The Ancient Ones.

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