Today was an early start as my first tour, the long house, was at 9:00am and it was about a 1.5h drive across the park to get there.
Long house was a bit bigger than Balcony house and once had some 150 rooms, it is probably in the worst shape of all the dwellings I saw. They believe Long House was more of a ceremonial place as in the middle was a great Kiva. The guide pointed out an interesting feature, the sipapu in the great Kiva wasn’t centered but offset at an angle from the fire pit which was strange, but when the guide held a compass over the sipapu it pointed true north-south. I thought this was pretty amazing considering we were talking 600-700 years ago. It always amazes me how in-tune ancient societies were, they generally have a great understanding of astrology, building practices that allow their buildings to stand for hundreds of years and a way of utilising the materials around them to create these amazing structures.
My next tour was of the Cliff Palace, so I made my way there Via the museum which had some artifacts and tools on display as well as some more information on the development of the Puebloan buildings and society. There was also an overlook to Spruce Tree house, which was shut due to rock fall risks, so I had a look at that from across the way. It looked to be pretty well preserved.
Cliff Palace was also very well preserved and from the observation area above It gave you a pretty good idea of what it might have looked like back in the day. Cliff Palace they believe was home to about 23 or so Puebloan Clans as there were 23 Kivas. This is one of the youngest dwellings only about 600 years old.
It was amazing to see the dwellings and fascinating to learn a little about Puebloan society. I thought 3 tours might be a little too much and repetitive, but each guide brought their own facts, figures and ideas as to what might have been going on or how life was. A great stop and well worth it, my favorite cliff dwelling was probably Cliff Palace.