Around the Kiva



Imagine yourself as Richard Wetherill in December 1888 rounding up stray cattle on a mesa top, in a snow storm, riding through a very familiar pinyon and juniper forest.  You ride to the mesa edge overlooking a huge canyon and, in the distance and through the snow, see a this “magnificent city.”

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The site is protected and access restricted to these tour groups.  I skipped the lecture, as interesting as it was, to use the time to capture the images in these blogs.  Here is an overview of the northeastern Cliff Palace, including the square (see previous blog) and round towers with the tour group gathered around one of the Cliff Palace kivas.


Here is a close-up of the kiva floor of the Balcony House.  Sipapu is a Hopi word for the small hole or indentation in the floor of kivas used by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples and modern-day Puebloans. It symbolizes the portal through which their ancient ancestors first emerged to enter the present world.

The sipapu is the smaller pit in the floor to the left (north side) and partially blocked by the kiva wall. The larger is a firepit. The small wall to the right is placed to deflect airflow from a floor vent.

Click Me for more background on the discovery and excavation of the Cliff Palace

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