The scientific tourist #104 — kiva tops

This week’s picture comes from Mesa Verde National Park in the southwestern corner of Colorado, USA — it’s the top of two kivas in the Spruce Tree House ruins.

Kivas are curious things, historically speaking. Architecturally, they’re derived from pithouses that were used as dwellings in the southwest thousands of years ago. In modern pueblos, kivas serve as religious, ceremonial, and cultural gathering places. So where does that leave things in the time of the ancestral puebloans (nee Anasazi)?

Unfortunately, the ancestral puebloans did a good job of cleaning up after themselves when they left Mesa Verde and other ruins — at least, I’ve never heard of any artifact finds within a ruined kiva. The bulk of the archaeological community seems to feel that for the ancestral puebloans, kivas served a ceremonial purpose. Some holdouts, though, are sure that they were dwellings — with the rest of the rooms in ruins like this serving as storage and work space.

Like Mesa Verde? If you’re relatively new to this blog, you might also want to check out some other posts here, here, and here.

This entry was posted in History, Humanity, Sci / Tech Tourism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.