Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

First I will start with a disclaimer:  This is not a real cliff dwelling, but a reconstruction that opened to the public in 1907.  The stones from dilapidated  structures in the Four Corners area were moved here, and reassembled into these buildings.  That said, it's still a great place to visit in  Manitou Springs, CO, because of one big advantage.  Unlike Mesa Verde, you can go inside every room in this structure, as long as you can squeeze through the openings! Once you get inside, there are plenty of posted interpretations of the rebuilt structures.
 It was pleasantly cool inside.  Here are the metates arranged against a wall in a three-family house.

There is a large space between the back of this building and the cliff, where the inhabitants would have thrown their refuse.  While this sounds messy and smelly, they probably produced very little refuse by using every part of game animals.

This is thought to have been a storage container.

The reconstructed kiva had two very interesting features: a stone slab standing between the fire and the air vent, which was supposed to diffuse the air flow, and a sipapu or spirit entrance.
  The sipapu is on the floor directly across the fire from the slab.

Most interesting was this little niche with a basin built into the floor of a small room.  This was described as possibly used for ceremonial preparation of bodies for burial.

Here in the museum, mugs from about 1300! These sure look like modern coffee mugs!

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