Up a tree dating
Why did the Ancestral Puebloans leave their carefully constructed cliff dwellings? Was the area completely abandoned or later used again?, astronomer Andrew Ellicott Douglass of the University of Arizona published the first tree-ring dates for Mesa Verde.he next day, he enlisted a group of friends to carry the beam a short distance to the cliff dwelling he wanted to repair.(Unlike his ancestors, who had lived in pithouses on the mesa tops, his people built their homes as large apartment buildings in beautiful, massive, natural rockshelters below the mesa tops—probably for defensive reasons.) The young man and his friends used the beam to shore up the roof of the room they used for ceremonies.(Why, you ask, was an astronomer studying tree rings?
n the fall of 1282, a young carpenter went to his favorite stand of juniper trees in southwestern Colorado.
nd when we look at the tree-ring dates decade by decade, some intriguing patterns emerge.
There are 284 tree-ring dates from the 1270s, indicating that construction and repair activities were in full force at a dozen cliff dwellings within the region that now comprises the park.
But it borders on climatic determinism, wherein social and cultural development is determined by fluctuations in local climate.
It suggests that resourceful and ingenious people who lived in the Mesa Verde region for millennia suddenly lacked the ability to cope with drought.