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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

A great concentration of ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings, built from the 6th to the 12th century, can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in south-west Colorado at an altitude of more than 2,600 m. Some 4,400 sites have been recorded, including villages built on the Mesa top. There are also imposing cliff dwellings, built of stone and comprising more than 100 rooms.

Parc national de Mesa Verde

Dans l'extrême sud-ouest de l'État du Colorado, le plateau de Mesa Verde, qui atteint plus de 2 600 m d'altitude, abrite une énorme concentration d'habitats indiens ancestraux dans des « pueblos » construits du VIe au XIIe siècle. Les quelque 4 400 sites recensés comprennent des villages bâtis au sommet de la Mesa et des habitations aménagées sur les falaises, construites en pierre et pouvant comporter plus de 100 pièces.

منتزه ميسا فردي الوطني

تقع هضبة ميسا فردي جنوب غرب ولاية كولورادو ويبلغ ارتفاعها2600 متر وتضم تجمّعاً كبيراً من مساكن الهنود الحمر القديمة المشيّدة بين القرنين السادس والثاني عشر. وتضمّ المواقع الأربعة آلاف وأربعماية التي جرى إحصاؤها قرىً مبنيّةً عند قمّة هضبة ميسا ومساكن مشيّدة عند نتوء صخريّة ومبنيّة من الحجارة يبلغ عددها أكثر من 100 قطعة.

source: UNESCO/ERI



source: UNESCO/ERI

Древние индейские поселения на плато Меса-Верде

На плато Меса-Верде, находящемся на юго-западе штата Колорадо, на высоте более 2600 м можно обнаружить большую концентрацию жилищ предков индейцев Пуэбло, относящихся к периоду VI-XII вв. Зарегистрировано около 4,4 тыс. объектов, включая поселения, построенные на вершине плато. Несколько внушительных жилых комплексов, располагаются под навесом скалистого обрыва, построено из камня и насчитывают более чем по 100 помещений.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Parque Nacional de Mesa Verde

Situado al suroeste del Estado del Colorado, el altiplano de Mesa Verde alcanza más de 2.600 metros de altura. Este altiplano alberga una gran cantidad de viviendas de los indios pueblo construidas entre los siglos VI y XII. Se han localizado unos 4.400 sitios, entre los que figuran aldeas erigidas en lo alto de la meseta y viviendas de imponentes dimensiones construidas con piedra en farallones rocosos, que cuentan con más de cien habitaciones en algunos casos.

source: UNESCO/ERI


source: NFUAJ

Nationaal park Mesa Verde

Het Mesa Verde-plateau is te vinden in het zuidwesten van Colorado op een hoogte van meer dan 2.600 meter. Op het plateau zijn een grote concentratie van voorouderlijke Pueblo-indianenwoningen te vinden, gebouwd van de 6e tot de 12e eeuw. In totaal horen er 4.400 locaties bij het nationale park, met inbegrip van dorpen die gebouwd zijn op de Mesa-top. Er bevinden zich ook imposante rotswoningen, gebouwd van steen, met meer dan 100 kamers. De dorpen van Mesa Verde werden in 1874 ontdekt en geplunderd door verzamelaars. De bescherming van het gebied is in 1906 in werking getreden.

Source: unesco.nl

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Mesa Verde National Park © Nomination File
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Mesa Verde landscape is a remarkably well-preserved prehistoric settlement landscape of the Ancestral Puebloan culture, which lasted for almost nine hundred years from c. 450 to 1300. This plateau in southwest Colorado, which sits at an altitude of more than 2,600 meters, contains a great concentration of spectacular Pueblo Indian dwellings, including the well-known cliff dwellings. This rich landscape provides a remarkable archaeological laboratory for enhancing our understanding of the Ancestral Puebloan people.

Some 600 cliff dwellings built of sandstone and mud mortar have been recorded within Mesa Verde National Park – including the famous multi-storey Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House – and an additional 4,300 archaeological sites have been discovered. The cliff dwelling sites range in size from small storage structures to large villages of 50 to 200 rooms. Many other archaeological sites, such as pit-house settlements and masonry-walled villages of varying size and complexity, are distributed over the mesas. Non-habitation sites include farming terraces and check dams, field houses, reservoirs and ditches, shrines and ceremonial features, as well as rock art. Mesa Verde represents a significant and living link between the Puebloan Peoples’ past and their present way of life. 

Criterion (iii): The exceptional archaeological sites of the Mesa Verde landscape provide eloquent testimony to the ancient cultural traditions of Native American tribes. They represent a graphic link between the past and present ways of life of the Puebloan Peoples of the American Southwest. 


Within the boundaries of the property are located all the elements necessary to understand and express the Outstanding Universal Value of Mesa Verde National Park, including habitation and non-habitation archaeological sites and features, as well as settlement patterns. Excavated sites have been stabilized and undergo routine monitoring, condition assessment, and preservation treatment, based on continuing research and consultation. The property is of sufficient size to adequately ensure the complete representation of the features and processes that convey the property’s significance, and does not suffer from adverse effects of development and/or neglect. There is no buffer zone for the property. 


Mesa Verde National Park is authentic in terms of its forms and designs, materials and substance, location and setting, and spirit. Large portions of the sandstone and mud-mortar multi-storey buildings have survived intact in form and materials, a tribute to the engineering skills of these early peoples as well as the dry environment of the mesa’s alcoves. These architectural remains reflect the range of ancient Pueblo construction techniques as well as settlement patterns. Extensive research on both the structures and many artefacts has provided a wealth of information about the lifestyles of the former occupants.

Increased erosion following wildland fires poses a continuing threat to the property’s cultural values. However, management policies are in place to protect the resources to the greatest extent possible. The introduction of non-native invasive plant species has become a major problem. Furthermore, the potential exists for future development in the corridor along Highway 160, the northern boundary of the property. 

Protection and management requirements

Mesa Verde National Park was established by an Act of Congress in 1906, before the existence of the National Park Service itself, and was the first archaeological area in the world to be recognized and protected in this way. The eventual inclusion of the area within the National Park system gives it the highest possible level of protection, as it is owned and maintained by the federal government, and assures a high standard of interpretation and public access. Park staff consults regularly on interpretive materials, research and preservation of archaeological resources, and proposed construction plans with representatives from 26 culturally affiliated and traditionally associated Native American tribes and pueblos who consider Mesa Verde their ancestral home.

There is a General Management Plan for Mesa Verde National Park (1979). A long-term plan for the preservation of the 600 alcove sites was made possible through an Archaeological Site Conservation Program (1994). Ongoing efforts to enhance baseline information, condition assessments, and architectural documentation continue to inform both management decisions and interpretive materials. Carrying capacity and visitor impacts are carefully monitored, with policies in place to limit the impacts. Other plans on topics such as interpretation supplement the National Park’s General Management Plan.

Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require protecting resources from erosion and other damage caused by wildland fires and other effects of climate change; managing invasive plant species that harm or may harm cultural resources; and ensuring that any development adjacent to the property does not have a negative impact on the property’s value, authenticity and integrity.