cliff-dwelling

Cliff dwelling is the general archaeological term for the habitations of primitive peoples, formed by utilizing niches or caves in high cliffs, with more or less excavation or with additions in the way of masonry.

Two special sorts of cliff-dwelling are distinguished by archaeologists;

  1. the cliff-house, which is actually built on levels in the cliff, and
  2. the cavate house, which is dug out, by using natural recesses or openings.

Some of the most famous of these are the North American cliff-dwellings, 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. The area in which they occur coincides with that in which other traces of the Pueblo tribes have been found. The niches which were utilized are often of considerable size, occurring in cliffs to a thousand feet in height, and approached by rock steps or log ladders.

References

  • Noble, David Grant. "Ancient Ruins of the Southwest. Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, Arizona 1995. ISBN 0-87358-530-5
  • Oppelt, Norman T. "Guide to Prehistoric Ruins of the Southwest". Pruett Publishing, Boulder, Colorado, 1989. ISBN 0-87108-783-9.

See also

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