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The cliff dwellings constructed in crevices along the canyon walls in Mesa Verde are fairly well-known to the public because they've been photographed so often. But the pictures -- including the ones here -- aren't adequate to convey their reality. That the structures have lasted for almost a thousand years is remarkable in itself but their being built where they are is even more striking. What was it that caused people to fashion genuine cities in a stony cracks halfway down canyon walls?
Out and About with Word and Image of Vermont
Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde
I don't suppose we'll ever actually know the answer. But to walk among the ruins tells you that the people who built them did it very carefully, with a kind of patience that may well have disappeared from earth.
The chinked walls demonstrate that hours were spent shaping small stones, some of them far smaller than the tip of your finger, to fill every tiny opening. And that's what has kept the walls intact over all the succeeding centuries. It's a mystery that has few comparisons in the modern conception of life.