Visiting the ancient native heritage sites of the west is the means for a greater understanding of this region. The questions answered while visiting the ancient sacred places can increase awareness of cultural origins and native traditions. Later when research is done out of sheer interest, the environmental timelines and events that spawned ancient societal growth in this region will come to light. Visiting the ancient archaeological sites in person can yield a much more spiritual perspective that the history books cannot convey. The ancient archaeological sites of the west are places where the imagination can truly roam free and the lessons learned can act as guidance.
The Canyons Of The Ancients National Monument offers a wealth of ancient native cultural information to ponder over. There are well over 6,000 documented archaeological sites in this vast wilderness area, so a visitor can literally spend weeks exploring the ancient past in this place. The setting of this protected area is not easy to understand upon first glance at a map, because the Canyons Of The Ancients borders upon a flat high mesa that branches out like fingers on a hand. Between the high mesa farmland fingers are the protected canyons where the ancient pueblos can be found.
Because of the shape of the branching canyons, visitors will have to carefully navigate this area when planning a visit. Not all of the roads are marked and the National Monument signage is minimal. The Canyons Of The Ancients has become a battleground for oil and gas fracking exploration due to rampant political corruption, so this complicates navigational matters even more.
The best place to start a Canyons Of The Ancients National Monument venture is at the Anasazi Heritage Center, which is located near the town of Delores, Colorado. The Anasazi Heritage Center is a museum that offers detailed maps of the Canyons Of The Ancients National Monument, which are far more reliable than smart phone mapping systems that may leave a visitor lost and stranded way out in the middle of nowhere. The ancient Escalante and Dominguez Pueblos are also located at the Anasazi Heritage Center, which are simply a must to experience.
After checking out what the Anasazi Heritage Center has to offer, setting sail for the Canyons Of The Ancients with a reliable map in hand will make the day go much better. Starting with an archaeological site that is well preserved and easy to find is the best thing to do, because this is a good way to get onboard with the thought process that naturally causes a yearning for exploring more. One of the best preserved ancient sites in this National Monument is the Lowry Pueblo, which is also happens to be one of the easiest to access with a passenger car that has an average ground clearance.
The Lowry Pueblo access road is located on Highway 491 in the community of Pleasant View, which is located next to Dove Creek, Colorado. Cortez is only a short distance away and this town is the best basecamp choice in the Mesa Verde region. On Highway 491, the road to look for is Montezuma County Road CC, which runs straight through the high mesa farm country to the ancient pueblo site. The signage is minimal, but this pueblo is only a few miles down a well maintained farm road. The dirt road entranceway into the National Monument is smooth enough for an average two wheel drive passenger car and the walkways are paved, so just about anybody can tour the Lowry Pueblo with ease.
The Lowry Pueblo is a prime example of the medium size pueblos that can be found in the Four Corners region. This ancient site is over 1,000 years old, so a lot of history can be pondered over when visiting this sacred place. The 40 rooms of the main village building are remarkably well preserved, so it is easy for visitors to picture how this place might have looked way back when. Pueblos like this were much more than mere shelters for hunter gatherers, as many historical references depict. Old villages like the Lowry Pueblo were centers for agricultural practices, artisan crafts, trade commerce, communication, astronomy and ceremonial rituals. The cultures that built these pueblos were indeed as complex as those in modern times.
As can be imagined, a lot can be learned by visiting the Lowry Pueblo and a visit will create memories to reflect upon for many years into the future. The Lowry Pueblo is one of a few pueblos in this region that were sheltered under a canopy shortly after excavation. Seeing the interior of an intact pueblo or kiva is a rare experience that can provide valuable insight. The largest inner rooms of Lowry Pueblo have been sheltered from the elements, so it still looks as it did a thousand years ago. This is a great place to step way back in time to learn a little something about the people that called this place home.
A large round great kiva structure is located next to the main pueblo building complex, which also is intriguing to view. The great kiva served many cultural purposes which are still not fully understood by modern people. Ceremonial practices, wisdom sharing, healing, agricultural planning and communications with the spirit world likely are some of the functions that took place in the great kiva. Nearly any native in this region can be of help when explaining the purpose of a kiva, because traditional kivas still serve an integral purpose in modern native cultures to this day.
It is easy to spend hours gazing upon the ancient Lowry Pueblo, so it is best to plan on turning the tour into a day trip event. There are picnic areas on site and plenty of shade trees, so spending some extra time relaxing at this ancient village is easy to do. The Four Corners region can be a harsh environment, especially during the summer season, so be sure to pack plenty of water to stay hydrated. The cool temperatures of the spring and autumn seasons will make the visit much more pleasant, but even the hottest summer temperatures in southwestern Colorado are bearable when compared to the Desert Southwest.
Supporting National Monuments like the Canyons Of The Ancients is important at this time because of rampant political corruption by the gas fracking industry, so be sure to spread the word and share photos with friends to promote awareness. All it takes is one visit to see why the ancient sacred places should be protected for future generations and this is reason enough to get up and go!
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