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Monday, November 2, 2009

Cliff Dwellings

Have you ever visited a cliff dwelling? You can see one at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

The ancient people who built these homes were called Tularosa Mogollans. They lived along the Gila River over 700 years ago.

About 1287 AD, a small tribe found a natural cave. It was high in the canyon wall. They decided to build their home there.

They stacked rocks and mud to make walls inside the cave. They used timber to support the walls.

To reach their new home, the people climbed up the canyon wall. They also used ladders to reach their cliff dwelling. They hauled water up from the Gila River, which ran below the cliff dwelling. They hunted animals, gathered foods, and grew corn.

They built over 40 different rooms. About ten families lived in the cave. They stayed for about 20 years. No one knows why they left.

Today, you can walk the one-mile loop trail to see the cliff dwellings. (Unfortunately, dogs can’t go!) When you visit, you can walk into many of the rooms. You can even still see soot on the ceiling from their fires.

For more information about the cliff dwellings, visit the National Parks System site at http://www.nps.gov/GICL/index.htm.

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