Top Ten Archaeological Ruins

North & South America: Mesa Verde, Colorado

Some refer to Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado as North America's archaeological equivalent to Egypt's Valley of the Kings. Nestled high in the canyon's cliffs, Mesa Verde has continued to fascinate archaeologists and other visitors with its well-preserved cliff dwellings carved in giant alcoves of rock and evidence of the long departed Anasazi civilization—clay pots and stone tools, ashes in some of the hearths, and many artifacts intact. But after decades of study and research, archaeologists are still guessing as to why the Anasazi went to such extremes to build these complex architectural wonders and why after 1,000 years of living on the plateau, they suddenly left. Were they afraid of something? Chased out? Besides the park's archaeological fame, it also contains some of the most spectacular vistas in the Southwest. The panoramic views from the entrance road range from 14,000-foot snow-capped mountains to distant views of the Colorado Plateau and high desert to the south and west.


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