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The Mesa Verde World

Explorations in Ancestral Pueblo Archaeology

Edited by David Grant Noble

Mesa Verde, with its stunning landscapes and cliff dwellings, evokes all the romance of American archaeology. It has intrigued researchers and visitors for more than a century. But “Mesa Verde” represents more than cliff dwellings—its peoples created a culture that thrived for a thousand years in Southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. Archaeologists have discovered dozens of long-buried hamlets and villages spread for miles across the Great Sage Plain west and north of Mesa Verde. Only lately have these sites begun to reveal their secrets.

In recent decades, archaeologists have been working intensively in the Mesa Verde region to build the story of its ancestral Pueblo inhabitants. The Mesa Verde World showcases new findings about the region’s prehistory, environment, and archaeological history, from newly discovered reservoir systems on Mesa Verde to astronomical alignments at Yellow Jacket Pueblo. Key topics include farming, settlement, sacred landscapes, cosmology and astronomy, rock art, warfare, migration, and contemporary Pueblo perspectives.

2006. 182 pp., 142 black-and-white and 21 color illustrations, 2 maps, chronology, reading list, index, 8 x 11

Contributors: Karen R. Adams, Julie Bell, David A. Breternitz, Catherine M. Cameron, Mona Charles, Sally J. Cole, Alden C. Hayes, Winston Hurst, Timothy A. Kohler, Kristin A. Kuckelman, Richard W. Lang, William D. Lipe, J. McKim Malville, Tessie Naranjo, David Grant Noble, Larry V. Nordby, Scott G. Ortman, Jonathan Till, Mark D. Varien, Richard H. Wilshusen, Kenneth R. Wright

Awards: 2007 New Mexico Book Award Finalist

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“This beautiful, well written, and informative book is the most recent offering of the SAR (School for Advanced Research) Press within its popular Southwest Archaeology series … Although the book is written to engage a nonprofessional audience, the career archaeologist will also find this collection useful because it gathers together in a single publication what researchers active in the Mesa Verde region believe to be the most important topics and contemporary interpretations about this archaeological area… David Grant Noble’s gift for anticipating what interested readers want and need to know … clearly shines forth in this collection.”
—Carla R. Van West, Kiva Vol. 72, no. 4 (Summer 2007)


  1. Through the Looking Glass: The Environment of the Ancient Mesa Verdeans
    Karen R. Adams
  2. The Earliest Mesa Verdeans: Hunters, Foragers, and First Farmers
    Mona Charles
  3. The Genesis of Pueblos: Innovations between 500 and 900 CE
    Richard H. Wilshusen
  4. The Mesa Verde Region during Chaco Times
    William D. Lipe
  5. Turbulent Times in the Mesa Verde World
    Mark D. Varien
  6. “We Came from the South, We Came from the North”: Some Tewa Origin Stories
    Tessie Naranjo
  7. Craft Arts of the Mesa Verde
    Richard W. Lang
  8. Simulation and Imagination Fistfight in the Mesa Verde
    Timothy A. Kohler
  9. Mesa Verdean Sacred Landscapes
    Winston Hurst and Jonathan Till
  10. The Cosmic and the Sacred at Yellow Jacket Pueblo and Mesa Verde
    J. McKim Malville
  11. Imagery and Tradition: Murals of the Mesa Verde Region
    Sally J. Cole
  12. Ancient Pottery of the Mesa Verde Country: How Ancestral Pueblo People Made It, Used It, and Thought about It
    Scott Ortman
  13. Understanding Mesa Verde’s Cliff Dwelling Architecture
    Larry V. Nordby
  14. Fire and Archaeology on Mesa Verde
    Julie Bell
  15. Water for the Mesa Verdeans
    Kenneth R. Wright
  16. Ancient Violence in the Mesa Verde Region
    Kristin A. Kuckelman
  17. A Hopi Story about Castle Rock
    Ernest Ingersoll
  18. Leaving Mesa Verde
    Catherine M. Cameron
  19. Mesa Verde: A Century of Research
    Alden C. Hayes
  20. Mesa Verdean Archaeology since the Mid–1960s
    David A. Breternitz
There are no working papers for this book at the present time.