Cliff dwelling

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Sinagua cliff dwelling (Montezuma Castle), Arizona Hohokam cliff dwelling (Montezuma Castle), Arizona.jpg
Sinagua cliff dwelling (Montezuma Castle), Arizona
Cavates and pathways in soft tuff at Tsankawi, New Mexico Tsankawi, cavattes & steps.jpg
Cavates and pathways in soft tuff at Tsankawi, New Mexico

In archeology, cliff dwellings are dwellings formed by using niches or caves in high cliffs, with more or less excavation or with additions in the way of masonry.

In law, a dwelling is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more households as a home, such as a house, apartment, mobile home, houseboat, vehicle or other 'substantial' structure. A dwelling typically includes nearby outbuildings, sheds, etc. within the curtilage of the property, excluding any 'open fields beyond'. It has significance in relation to search and seizure, conveyancing of real property, burglary, trespass, and land use planning.

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Two special sorts of cliff dwelling are distinguished by archaeologists: the cliff-house, which is actually built on levels in the cliff, and the cavate, which is dug out, by using natural recesses or openings.

Rock-cut architecture generally refers to rather grander temples, but also tombs, cut into living rock, although for example the Ajanta Caves in India, of the 2nd century BCE to 5th century CE, probably housed several hundred Buddhist monks and are cut into a cliff, as are the Mogao Caves in China.

Rock-cut architecture The creation of structures, buildings, and sculptures by excavating solid rock

Rock-cut architecture is the creation of structures, buildings, and sculptures by excavating solid rock where it naturally occurs. Rock-cut architecture is designed and made by man from the start to finish. In India and China, the terms 'cave' and 'cavern' are often applied to this form of man-made architecture. However, caves and caverns, that began in natural form, are not considered to be 'rock-cut architecture' even if extensively modified. Although rock-cut structures differ from traditionally built structures in many ways, many rock-cut structures are made to replicate the facade or interior of traditional architectural forms. Interiors were usually carved out by starting at the roof of the planned space and then working downward. This technique prevents stones falling on workers below. The three main uses of rock-cut architecture were temples, tombs and cave dwellings.

Ajanta Caves Ancient Buddhist cave monuments in Maharashtra India

The Ajanta Caves are 30 (approximately) rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India. The caves include paintings and rock-cut sculptures described as among the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art, particularly expressive paintings that present emotion through gesture, pose and form.

Mogao Caves caves in Dunhuang City, Gansu, China

The Mogao Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes or Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, form a system of 492 temples 25 km (16 mi) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves may also be known as the Dunhuang Caves; however, this term is also used as a collective term to include other Buddhist cave sites in and around the Dunhuang area, such as the Western Thousand Buddha Caves, Eastern Thousand Buddha Caves, Yulin Caves, and Five Temple Caves. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The first caves were dug out in AD 366 as places of Buddhist meditation and worship. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and, along with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the three famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.

Some of the most famous cliff dwellings are those in North America, particularly among the canyons of the southwest, in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Chihuahua in Mexico, some of which are still used by Native Americans. There has been considerable discussion as to their antiquity, but modern research finds no definite justification for assigning them to a distinct primitive race, or farther back than the ancestors of the modern Pueblo people [ citation needed ]. The area in which they occur coincides with that in which other traces of the Pueblo tribes have been found. The niches that were used are often of considerable size, occurring in cliffs up to a thousand feet in height, and approached by rock steps or log ladders.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,590 sq mi (314,900 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

Utah A state of the United States of America

Utah is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 31st-most-populous, and 10th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of more than 3 million according to the Census estimate for July 1, 2016. Urban development is mostly concentrated in two areas: the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, which contains approximately 2.5 million people; and Washington County in Southern Utah, with over 160,000 residents. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.

See also

Ancestral Puebloan dwellings

Hundreds of Ancestral Puebloan dwellings are found across the American Southwest. With almost all constructed well before 1492 CE, these Puebloan towns and villages are located throughout the geography of the Southwest.

Bandiagara Escarpment

The Bandiagara Escarpment is an escarpment in the Dogon country of Mali. The sandstone cliff rises about 500 meters above the lower sandy flats to the south. It has a length of approximately 150 kilometers.

Moki steps, sometimes spelled alternately as Moqui steps, are a recurring feature found in areas of the American southwest previously inhabited by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples and other related cultures. The steps consist of alternating hand and toe holds carved into vertical or near-vertical sandstone surfaces. The steps are usually two to three inches deep, and three to four inches in width and height.

Related Research Articles

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is an American national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado. The park protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a U.S. National Monument created to protect Mogollon cliff dwellings in the Gila Wilderness on the headwaters of the Gila River in southwest New Mexico. The 533-acre (2.16 km2) national monument was established by President Theodore Roosevelt through executive proclamation on November 16, 1907. It is located in the extreme southern portion of Catron County. Visitors can access the Monument by traveling northbound from Silver City, New Mexico approximately 37 miles on NM 15.

Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, between Cortez, Colorado and Blanding, Utah on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain. Shallow tributaries run through the wide and deep canyons into the San Juan River.

Navajo National Monument national monument in northern Arizona

Navajo National Monument is a National Monument located within the northwest portion of the Navajo Nation territory in northern Arizona, which was established to preserve three well-preserved cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan People: Keet Seel, Betatakin, and Inscription House. The monument is high on the Shonto plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system, west of Kayenta, Arizona. It features a visitor center with a museum, two short self-guided mesa top trails, two small campgrounds, and a picnic area. Rangers guide visitors on free tours of the Keet Seel and Betatakin cliff dwellings. The Inscription House site, further west, is currently closed to public access.

Puye Cliff Dwellings

The Puye Cliff Dwellings are the ruins of an abandoned pueblo, located in Santa Clara Canyon on Santa Clara Pueblo land near Española, New Mexico. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

Pueblo Bonito house

Pueblo Bonito is the largest and best-known great house in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, northern New Mexico. It was built by the Ancestral Puebloans who occupied the structure between AD 828 and 1126.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is a national monument protecting an archaeologically-significant landscape located in the southwestern region of the U.S. state of Colorado. The monument's 176,056 acres (71,247 ha) are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, as directed in the Presidential proclamation which created the site on June 9, 2000. Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is part of the National Landscape Conservation System, better known as the National Conservation Lands. This system comprises 32 million acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management to conserve, protect, and restore these nationally significant landscapes recognized for their outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values. Canyons of the Ancients encompasses and surrounds three of the four separate sections of Hovenweep National Monument, which is administered by the National Park Service. The monument was proclaimed in order to preserve the largest concentration of archaeological sites in the United States, primarily Ancestral Puebloan ruins. As of 2005, over 6,000 individual archeological sites had been identified within the monument.

Tsankawi

Tsankawi is a detached portion of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, near White Rock. It is accessible from a roadside parking area just north of the intersection of East Jemez Road and State Road 4. A self-guided 1.5-mile loop trail provides access to numerous unexcavated ruins, caves carved into soft tuff, and petroglyphs. A trail guide, available at the entrance, provides a detailed description of the area.

Southwestern archaeology is a branch of archaeology concerned with the Southwestern United States and [[Northwestern Mexico. This region has long been occupied by hunter-gatherers and agricultural peoples.

Cuarenta Casas house

Cuarenta Casas is an archaeological site in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Construction of the site is attributed to the Mogollon culture.

Trail of the Ancients

The Trail of the Ancients is a National Scenic Byway located in the states of Colorado and Utah. The route highlights the archaeological and cultural history of southwestern Native American peoples, and traverses the widely diverse geological landscape of the Four Corners region. It was the first National Scenic Byway that was designated solely for its archaeological sites. The entire route is approximately 480 miles (772.5 km) long.

Anasazi Heritage Center Archaeological museum in Dolores, Colorado

Anasazi Heritage Center, located in Dolores, Colorado, is an archaeological museum of Native American pueblo and hunter-gatherer cultures. Two 12th-century archaeological sites, the Escalante and Dominguez Pueblos, at the center were once home to Ancient Pueblo Peoples. The museum's permanent and special exhibits display some of its 3 million artifacts and information it owns of native pueblo and other regional native people. The center offers a research library, educational resources and museum shop. Wheelchair-accessible facilities include a picnic area and nature trail.

Ansel Hall Ruin place in Colorado listed on National Register of Historic Places

The Ansel Hall Ruin, also known as Cahone Ruin, is located in Cahone, Dolores County, Colorado. A pre-historic ruins from the Pueblo II period, the Northern San Juan pueblo was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Pueblo III Period

The Pueblo III Period was the third period, also called the "Great Pueblo period" when Ancestral Puebloans lived in large cliff-dwelling, multi-storied pueblo, or cliff-side talus house communities. By the end of the period the ancient people of the Four Corners region migrated south into larger, centralized pueblos in central and southern Arizona and New Mexico.

Pueblo IV Period

The Pueblo IV Period was the fourth period of ancient pueblo life in the American Southwest. At the end of prior Pueblo III Period, Ancestral Puebloans living in the Colorado and Utah regions abandoned their settlements and migrated south to the Pecos River and Rio Grande valleys. As a result, pueblos in those areas saw a significant increase in total population.

Late Basketmaker II Era

The Late Basketmaker II Era was a cultural period of Ancient Pueblo People when people began living in pit-houses, raised maize and squash, and were proficient basket makers and weavers. They also hunted game and gathered wild foods, such as pinyon nuts.

Pueblo V Period

The Pueblo V Period is the final period of ancestral puebloan culture in the American Southwest, or Oasisamerica, and includes the contemporary Pueblo peoples. From the previous Pueblo IV Period, all 19 of the Rio Grande valley pueblos remain in the contemporary period. The only remaining pueblo in Texas is Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and the only remaining pueblos in Arizona are maintained by the Hopi Tribe. The rest of the Pueblo IV pueblos were abandoned by the 19th century.

Ancestral Puebloans ancient Native American culture in Four Corners region of the United States

The Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. The Ancestral Puebloans are believed to have developed, at least in part, from the Oshara Tradition, who developed from the Picosa culture.

References

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