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When visiting Mesa Verde National Park you find yourself taken in with a mystical feeling of a time almost forgotten The park located in southwestern Colorado is the setting of a silent stone city ten ruins built into protective seven-hundred-foot cliffs that housed hundreds of people from the pre-Columbian era to the end of the thirteenth century If you visit the park youll enjoy its architecture and history more if you know a little about the various people who lived there The Indian Era may be divided into three time periods that show growing sophistication in such activities as crafts hunting trade and housing Basket Maker Modified Basket Maker and Pueblo The earliest Mesa Verdeans the basket Makers sought shelter from the dry plains in the cliff caves and became farmers Settling down meant the Indians had more time for crafts They didnt make pottery yet but wove baskets that held water They could know cook food in these baskets by dropping heated rocks into the water The Basket Makers wore little clothing and eat little fresh meat because the weapons they where using werent adequate for hunting large game Next came the Modified Basket Makers They invented pottery the bow and arrow and houses Pottery was learned from other tribes The Mesa Verdeans advanced from crude clay baked in the sun to clay mixed with straw and sand and baked in kilns Paints where made from plants and minerals that created beautifully decorated mugs bowls jars pitchers and canteens The making of these pots meant that water could be stored for longer periods The Modified Basket Makers also discovered the bow and arrow and enlarged their wardrobes to include animal skins and feather blankets They lived in individual quarters called pithouses which consisted of twenty-foot-wide holes in the ground with log grasses and earthen framework over them The third period saw the innovation of pueblos instead of single-family units Pueblos were groups of dwellings
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