We spent much of a day at Mesa Verde State Park, in the company of my friend from our college days, Elizabeth Bauer. Liz is the former curator of the natural history museum in the park.
Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling on the North American continent. Abandoned by 1300 AD, its inhabitants built and rebuilt the structures - homes and religious centers (kivas) from about 1190 through 1260 AD. Why the people - the Anasazi - came to live in the cliffs is not understood. Nor do we know why they left their homes, although the best guess is that they left because of overpopulation in the midst of a drought. We do know the Anasazi settled on the lands occupied now by the Hopi Pueblo people in Arizona, and by the people living in the various pueblos along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico.