First, we wound our way down steep, narrow steps:
The second tour was the "700 year" tour. The Ranger took us to different areas giving us a chronological look at the development of dwellings in the Mesa Verde area. The earliest homes were dug into the earth along the top of the mesa around 550 A.D. They had an earthen roof. Later developments included venting for circulation and smoke exhaust, similar to that of the kivas from later times. Eventually the homes became more like pueblo structures. They were built at ground level and some had several stories. Then, construction moved into the grottos found among the cliffs. The ancient Puebloans left the area around 1300 A.D. for unknown reasons. It is suspected that years of drought may have forced them to move to areas with more water for their agricultural needs. No one knows for certain.