Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Spruce Tree House

The roof of the cave is smoke stained from their fires.
Imagine the cold (below 0F) and the amount of smoke the
people had to endure in winter.

The large, three-story wall fronts about 20 rooms, each approximately 6X8X5 feet. Probably one or two people lived in each of these rooms. They were used primarily as bedrooms or as work areas in unpleasant weather.

The original wooden supports of a balcony can be seen near the top center of the picture.

Entrance to the rooms was gained through the rectangular and T-shaped doorways. Shape was apparently a matter of personal preference, each having advantages and disadvantages. In cold weather, animal hides or sandstone slabs were used as doors.

The Round Rooms below the main level are known as Kivas. They are thought to be used for ceremonial
or religious purposes. Archaeologists have inferred the uses of this room from the kivas of present day Pueblo peoples, who are believed to be the descendants of the Anasazi. When no ceremonies are taking place, the kiva may be used as a work area or as a social gathering place. It is assumed that kivas had similar functions in the past.

Page last updated July 20, 2000.