Ancient Cliff Dwellings
Cliff dwellings have existed in many different parts of the world. In many cases, basic homes could be made simply by utilizing the existing walls and roofs of caves. Rock could be tunneled into rather than having to be carved out in great quantities for use as building materials.
- Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings, Colorado, US
- The Bandiagara Cliff Dwellings, Mali
- The Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico, US
- The Uçhisar Cliff Dwellings,Turkey
- Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Colorado, US
- Guyaju Cave Dwellings, Yanqing District, China
The cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde (picture 1) are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are considered among the best preserved and most important sites of their kind in North America. They were inhabited by Ancestral Pueblo peoples, built between 1190 and 1300 CE. The structures and villages range from a 200 chamber Cliff Palace to single room storage spaces.
The origins of China’s Guyaju cave dwellings (picture 6) are shrouded in mystery, as there are no records of the people who created them. However, they are thought to be over 1,000 years old and may have been the work of the Xiyi people, of whom little is known. The dwellings are the biggest ruins of their kind ever discovered in China and feature 170 caves with more than 350 chambers. Relics such as stone bedding, air vents and rainwater collection devices have been found, as well as caves that housed horses.