Forever Preserved and Protected
Statement of Significance
The Mesa Verde landscape in the American southwest is considered to be the site of the prehistoric Ancestral Puebloan culture, which lasted for some nine hundred years from c 450 to 1300, on this plateau in southwest Colorado at an altitude of more than 2600 meters (8,500 feet). There is a great concentration of spectacular Pueblo Indian dwellings. Some 600 ‘cliff dwellings’ have been recorded within Mesa Verde National Park, including the famous multi-storey ones such as Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House, built of sandstone and mud mortar, and an additional 4100 archaeological sites have been discovered. New discoveries are routinely made.
The exceptional archaeological sites (ruins) of the Mesa Verde landscape provide eloquent testimony to the ancient cultural traditions and history of Native American tribes. They represent a graphic link between the past and present ways of life of the Puebloan Peoples of the American southwest.
In 1978, Mesa Verde National Park was named a World Heritage Site in recognition of its exceptional archaeological relevance – including its spectacular cliff dwellings tucked into the sandstone alcoves of its steep-walled canyons.
These fascinating cliff dwellings were built by the Ancestral Puebloans (previously known as the Anasazi) in the late 12th and 13th centuries. Guided tours are available for park visitors. Additionally, many prehistoric villages and archaeological sites found on mesa tops, provide a link to North America's prehistoric past.
For more about Mesa Verde’s World Heritage status, visit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (UNESCO)