All Episodes of Mesa Verde Voices
Sometimes we don’t know how to visit a place.
If you search hashtags like “discover,” “explore,” or “wanderlust” on Instagram, you’ll find over 150 million posts of people traveling all over the world.
These photos inspire us to see the world, but oftentimes social media shows these places without the context of what made these places special in the first place - the thousands of years of natural processes that sculpted the rock formations, or the thousands of years of cultural significance of the people that call these places home.
Why are they all naked?
The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum at Mesa Verde National Park is home to a series of historic dioramas created over 80 years ago. Their purpose: to illustrate what life was like on the Mesa over the last 2,000 years.
But the people portrayed in these snapshots were created through the eyes of Americans in the 1930s, and our understanding of these people has changed a lot over the past century.
What should the National Parks be talking about?
In June of 2017, Mesa Verde National Park created a Facebook post for LGBTQ Pride Month honoring Two Spirit people - who have been part of Indigenous culture since the beginning.
This post sparked a big conversation: what should the Parks be talking about on social media?
The legacy of art in Mesa Verde
This episode is the first of a two-part story about the legacy of artistic expression at Mesa Verde, a legacy that lives on today.
While the whole digital world has provided new opportunity for creating and sharing art, some artists are looking for a way to get away from it for a bit, and the National Parks have a solution.
And a law called NAGPRA.
From the 1940s until the 1970s, one of the most well-known exhibits in Mesa Verde's museum contained a human body - the mummified remains of a young woman known as Esther.
Even today, people have vivid memories of Esther. Visitors to the park often ask why she was removed from display, and where she went.
Plus some Evolution 101.
Corn or "maize" has been a significant part of life for the Hopi and Pueblo people for ... well, for as long as any of them can remember. Across the Southwest, it can be found in petroglyphs, pottery, in song and dances. What you might not know is that almost all of us have benefited from the efforts of ancient Southwestern farmers.
What do you mean hiking shoes are the enemy?
Cally visits Ballroom Cave, a site impacted by hikers and in need of restoration in an archaeologically rich part of southeast Utah. The area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and has seen a spike in visitation in recent years.
Didn't they disappear or something?
There isn't a tribe in the Southwest today called the Anasazi -- and there never was. So where did the word come from? What does it mean? And why do a lot of people in the Southwest not want to use it anymore?
To act or not to act.
In this episode, we explore the approach to preservation at two different sites: a park managed by the National Park Service, and an ancestral site managed by the people of Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico.
PILOT Episode 3: Moving On
Why did people leave the Mesa Verde region? It wasn't just the drought.
Archaeologist Donna Glowacki on the social, religious, and political factors that influenced the decision to leave the Mesa Verde region.
PILOT Episode 2: Corn = Life
Archaeologists replicate ancient corn harvests.
Using experimental gardens and historic climate data, archaeologists are able to predict the size of past corn harvests, providing new insights into how big droughts affected ancient people's food security.
Wildfires present both threats and opportunities to archaeological research.
Large wildfires in recent decades threatened to destroy important archaeological sites in Mesa Verde National Park, but also revealed previously hidden treasures.