Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace


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Cliff Palace | Articles | Colorado Encyclopedia

This report describes archaeological investigations and ruins reconstruction and stabilization work done by Fewkes and his crew in the summer of In that time Fewkes describes repairing " This report describes the excavation and repair work done. It increases existing knowledge by directing attention to the scientific data revealed by excavations of this largest, most picturesque,and most typical cliff-dwelling in the Southwest.


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Included also are the most important descriptions of Cliff Palace previously published. There is also included a description of the few minor antiquities brought to light in the progress of the work. Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin , Temporal Keywords Ancestral Puebloan. These sites had been plundered by "pothunters" who vandalized the ruins and sold off the antiquities piece by piece. Fortunately, Richard Wetherill had an amateur interest in archaeology.

The brothers gathered artifacts as carefully as they could, hoping to sell their discoveries to museums.

Mesa Verde National Park

Seeking greater protection of the ruins, they asked the government to make Mesa Verde a national park. Their request was denied. News of the Wetherills' discoveries at Mesa Verde attracted an unusual visitor: Gustaf Nordenskiold , a Swedish aristocrat with an interest in archaeology. When the Wetherills showed Nordenskiold the ruins, "his enthusiasm," one of the brothers remembered, "increased almost beyond his control.

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The Swede taught the brothers how to excavate using more scientific methods. He saved items that no other archaeologist of the time would have kept: Nordenskiold's attempt to ship his artifacts back to Sweden sparked a controversy.

Cliff Palace

When his pack animals, loaded down with items including a mummified corpse, reached the Durango railway station, he was accused of looting Mesa Verde and arrested. But the charges were dropped when it was established that he could not have broken any law, since no law existed to protect antiquities at the time.

Nordenskiold took his shipment home to Scandinavia, where he published the first scientific study of the cliff dwellers. The controversy brought worldwide attention to the ruins, and to the fact that the treasures of the Mesa Verde were completely unprotected. Virginia McClurg , a well-known writer, poet, and lecturer, took up the cause of protecting Mesa Verde's treasures.


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She formed the Colorado Cliff Dwellings Association, whose members were all women, and threw herself into the work at hand. McClurg organized petitions, wrote personal letters to the president, and created national support for protecting Mesa Verde. But just when Congress seemed ready to create a new national park, it became clear that McClurg had a different vision of how Mesa Verde should be preserved.


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  7. She wanted it to be a "woman's park," to be administered by her own association: McClurg's proposal drew fierce criticism and threatened to derail the bill in Congress.

    Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace
    Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace
    Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace
    Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace
    Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace
    Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace
    Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace Antiquities of the Mesa Verde National Park: Cliff Palace

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