National Geographic : 1963 May
Watch but do not photograph local Navajo dances. Indian religion forbids pictures. The Cliff Palace is one of Mesa Verde's most picturesque ruins. MESA VERDE where you discover the people time forgot If you've ever dreamed of being a great explorer and discovering a "lost civilization," drive to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado and start looking. America's first great civilization vanished here 200 years before Columbus; you might help archeologists piece its history together. Actually, there were three cul tures: the prehistoric Hunter-folk, the Basket Makers of 700 A.D., and the S"Ancient On les" E Ones'' whose cliff dwellings still perch like fantas woven by today's Indians lows' nests on looms little changed on the can through the centuries. yon walls. Each is pictured in the museum dio ramas which trace their development from savage nomads to a high cul ture that built 200-room apartment houses, grew corn in irrigated fields and traded for salt and jewels. Their pottery, jewelry and textiles, dis played here, are fabulous. But no museum is as exciting as an actual visit to their homes, dug into the earth of the Mesa, or, like the Cliff Palace, built on the cliff faces. As you go past room after room, you half expect to meet one of the women who ground corn here, or the child whose handprint you see on the wall. In the kivas or ceremonial rooms, which were built underground to be near the Corn Goddess, you can almost hear the prayers for rain. No rains came; by thick or thin rings on the "tree calendar," sci entists know that a long drought began in 1276, and in a genera tion, this civilization withered and died. But its grandeur remains and even today, more of its his tory is being revealed by the National Geographic Society working with Na tional Park archeologists. Detail from diorama showing Mesa Verde as it was 1150 1250 A.D. AOL. You can still see the artists' fingerprints on many ancient vases. Within a day's drive of Mesa Verde are other historic and scenic wonders-Aztec Ruins and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, Arches and Natural Bridges in Utah, the Petri fied Forest and Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. Come and enjoy these treasures of our natural heritage set aside by patriotic conserva tionists for the enjoyment of all Americans. FREE-RecreationalGuide and Vacation Plan ning Map of National Parks-"What to See, What to Do, How to Enjoy Your National Parks." Lists points of unusual scenic and historic interest, accommodations, facilities and recreational activities in National Parks and Monuments. Write Sinclair for your copy. FREE TOUR SERVICE-Let Sinclair help plan your trip to Mesa Verde or other National Parks, or anywhere in the U. S ., Canada, Mex ico. Write: Tour Bureau, Sinclair Oil Build. ing, 600 Fifth Avenue, New York 20, N. Y .