Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The structure built by the Ancestral Puebloans is located in Mesa Verde National Park in their former homeland region. The cliff dwelling and park are in Montezuma County, in the southwestern corner of Colorado, in the Southwestern United States.

 Cliff Palace in 1891

Tree-ring dating indicates that construction and refurbishing of Cliff Palace was continuous approximately from 1190 CE through 1260 CE, although the major portion of the building was done within a 20-year time span. The Ancestral Puebloans, also known as Anasazi, who constructed this cliff dwelling and the others like it at Mesa Verde were driven to these defensible positions by "increasing competition amidst changing climatic conditions".[1] Cliff Palace was abandoned by 1300, though debate is ongoing as to the cause. Some contend that a series of megadroughts interrupting food production systems was the main cause.

Cliff Palace was rediscovered in 1888 by Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason while they were looking for stray cattle.[2][3][4]

^ Snow, Dean R. (2010). Archaeology of Native North America. New York: Prentice-Hall. p. 128. ISBN 9780136156864. ^ Turney, Chris (2008). Ice, Mud & Blood: Lessons of Climates Past. Macmillan. ISBN 9780230553835. ^ "People". National Park Service. Retrieved November 11, 2010. ^ "Cliff Palace". National Park Service. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
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