|Spruce Tree House|
One sometimes hears such statements about some pastoral time when humans lived off the land, living in peace with their neighbors, and as such there was this Eden-like quality to existence. A moment's thought will probably lead one to realize that such situations in the human sojourn on this planet have been exceedingly rare.
At the most cynical level, living in harmony with nature means that a society or culture is living within the strict constraints of resources, imposed by marginal agricultural lands or limited water sources. If the population grows too much, starvation ensues, and harmony is restored only when part of the population dies off. Very Malthusian....
We were continuing with our journey through the Abandoned Lands, the world of the Colorado Plateau. In the last post, we were taking stock of the landscape that surrounds the famous cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park.
|Square Tower House|
That isn't to say that life was in any way easy. In some ways life was brutal and short; the average lifespan was less than thirty years, and elders who reached their fifties were rare. Many burials show evidence of disease, and the gritty corn meal wore teeth away at a horrific rate. Women often died in childbirth.
Most of them were constructed at the beginning of the 1200s and they were mostly abandoned before 1300. For more than 600 years, the Ancestral Puebloans were content to live in small villages and family pithouses on the mesa tops. The alcoves containing the stone cities were cold and drafty in winter, they were practically inaccessible, and often far from water sources (a few alcoves had springs that emerged in the rear). For all their architectural grandeur, they were not comfortable places to live.
|Spruce Tree House|
|Geotripper contemplates Spruce Tree House|
As I pointed out in the previous post, this was a most extraordinary day: I left my camera in camp. All of these wonderful photographs are courtesy of my own Mrs. Geotripper.