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Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde National Park
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ADDRESS
Ruins Road
Mesa Verde National Park
Colorado 81330
CONTACT DETAILS
ACTIVITIES
Ancient Ruins
 
 
 
 
 

Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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Spruce Tree House may not be Mesa Verde's largest cliff dwelling but it is the best preserved. Roughly 90% of this 114-room dwelling is original. Quite remarkable when you consider that Spruce Tree House was built by the Ancestral Puebloans between 1211 and 1278 A.D. As you tour the ruin consider the life of the Anasazi. Where did the 60 to 80 people that are believed to have lived here sleep, work and play? How did they enter and exit their homes? What was it like in the cold? What were the kivas used for?
Anasazi Kivas
Kiva Rooftop

Kiva Rooftop

Alfredo De Simone

 
Kivas - small, round rooms dug into the ground - were an important part of the Anasazi house. They were used for ceremonies and socializing. Kivas functioned like a church as well as a living room. And because Kivas were built underground, their roofs served a purpose too. Anasazi men and women gathered on the roof of the kiva to weave and grind corn and Anasazi children often played there. The roof of the kiva was the Anasazi's courtyard. There are nine kivas at Spruce Tree House. Can you find them all? If you have difficulty identifying all nine, ask a park ranger to give you a hand. Three of the kivas are hard to spot.
 
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A must see

Submitted on 30 October 2007 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
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This self-guided tour enables families to visit an Anasazi ruin at their own pace. And the well-preserved structures aren't lost on the kids. The brochure, available at the trailhead, provides insight to the more than the cliff dwelling. Pick out topics of interest to your kids rather than read the small booklet from cover to cover. Be sure to take the ladder into the kiva. It was a hit with our 8-year-old daughter as well as our 18-year-old niece.
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