Indian Ruins Portfolio

Prehistoric Ruins are found throughout the Southwest. These structures were build by the Anasazi who lived in the Southwest until around 1200AD. All of them were abandoned shortly after 1200 AD for reasons which still eludes us today.

Many of these structures are reasonably well preserved given their age and the many pot hunters who went through them. The largest and most impressive examples are now protected within the National Park systems.

Mesa Verde National Park and Chaco Canyon National Historical Site preserve the largest cliff dwellings in the Southwest. Canyon de Chelly may have the highest concentration of ruins in a single canyon system. Many other parks preserve smaller or isolated ruins,

Some of the most exciting ruins I know of are located in wilderness area far from roads and visitor centers. In these locations one can sometimes almost feel the presence of the former inhabitants and see tidbits of their lives scattered on the ground. Broken fragments of pottery decorated with black geometric designs on a white or red background, bits of woven rope or string, corncobs so small they seem like miniature versions of what we find at the grocery store.

The past is here next to us, unprotected at times and dependent on us for its survival. When we are fortunate to visit such places it is important to not disturb anything and to leave all artifacts where we found them. I have seen areas once covered with pottery shards which are now almost bare. Each visitor thinks that taking a single shard will not make any difference. Multiplied by hundreds or thousands of visitors this belief causes sites to be stripped in a short time. Our enjoyment depends of our careful relationship with such places.

Three Rooms Ruin

Poncho House


Ruin near the CItadel - color

Ruin near the CItadel - sepia

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Three-Rooms Ruin

Anasazi Doorway

Kiva and Sky

Mysterious Kiva

Hidden Ruin, daytime

Hidden Ruin, night

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