The Ancestral Puebloan native peoples of Southwestern Colorado left behind incredible structures as evidence of their 700-year civilization that occupied the cliffs of what is now Mesa Verde National Park. Though the park protects nearly 5,000 archeological sites, the most impressive is the 150-room Cliff Palace.
Estimates suggest that the Cliff Palace housed upwards of 100 people.
The doorways between rooms and structures seem tiny for modern day visitors: in fact, the average Ancestral Puebloan man was only about 5’4’’ to 5’5’’ and the average woman was only 5’ to 5’1’’.
Archeologists think that the Cliff Palace was a social and administrative hub and also the site for much of the ceremonial life of its population.
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The Cliff Palace is constructed of sandstone, mortar, and wooden beams that were once decorated with pink, brown, red, yellow, or white plasters.
Visitors can access the Cliff Palace via a ranger-guided tour only.