Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Lowry Pueblo Ruins

We drove into Colorado Thursday and arrived in Cortez about noon. This area of Colorado is part of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument which is on the Great Sage Plains. The Great Sage Plain consists of more that 1,500 square miles of high, dry, rolling plateaus, deeply scored by Canyons. This area contains the highest recorded density of prehistoric and historic sites in North America. So if you're interested in the Anasazi or Pueblo cultures, (and we are) this is the place to come.
These are the Lowry Pueblo Ruins. The Puebloan people constructed the Lowry Pueblo around AD 1060 and inhabited it for about 165 years. It began as a small village with a few rooms and a kiva, then several more rooms, and the Great Kiva was added AD 1085 - 1170. I'm standing in the Great Kiva, which is the largest Kiva in the area. This structure originally was covered with a log and mud roof and it was accessed by a ladder through a central opening in the roof or down a series of steps through the rooms to the north.
The kiva was a gathering place for the community. They came here from other communities on the Great Sage Plain to trade, exchange information and conduct religious ceremonies. This kiva is 47 feet in diameter.

It's estimated that about 40 people lived in this village. All the rooms of the village are small but that's because most of daily life took place outdoors. The people were small, the women only about 5' tall, the men a little taller - about 5'1''. Half of the children died before the age of 6, and the average life span was about 30 year. The people struggled to survive in this arid landscape. They farmed corn, beans and squash and hunted small game using tools made from stone and animal bones.

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