Buildings in Mesa Verde National Park, CO
Buildings in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. These and the other structures nestled into the alcoves and cliffs of the canyon walls were constructed by the ancestral Puebloans, who lived in Mesa Verde from A.D. 550 to 1300. They built pueblos, towers, farm buildings, and pithouses, as well as many more cliff dwellings like these. The largest (Cliff Palace and Long House) have 150 rooms, but ninety percent have ten rooms or less. The park contains over 4,000 archeological sites. The dwellings were first discovered by two cowboys, Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason, in 1888. Others made further expeditions into Mesa Verde; some camped in the buildings while looking for stray cattle. Many of these visitors were destructive, vandalizing the site or removing artifacts. The site received protection in 1906, when President Theodore Roosevelt declared it Mesa Verde National Park.