Replica buildings outside the museum
Mesa Verde, it is not, but if you would like to get a sampling of ancestral Puebloan or Anasazi life, this little state park near Boulder, Utah, is a pleasant stop. The museum is nice, and continues outdoors where you can visit a replica building, and also see an excavated site.
Arrowhead display inside the museum.
The museum has displays of artifacts such as arrowheads and pottery. It also has information about the region. While at the museum, we viewed a short video presentation about the inhabitants of this site. Occupied in the 1100s, these buildings may have once been the homes of about 200 people.
Pattern found on pottery from the Coombs site
The museum has a display of designs found on pottery in the different regions of the Southwest. This particular design is found at the actual site. I love this style of pottery, and find the black on white geometric designs both interesting and beautiful.
Ancestral Puebloan pottery on display at Anasazi State Park
After touring the museum, we went outside to see the rest of the exhibits. A reconstruction of a building found at the site is the first thing you encounter as you walk outside. Notice how small it seems by modern standards!
Peeking out of a Puebloan replica house
There were once over 100 structures on the site. As the population grew, the people added on to their buildings, until they formed a large U-shaped construction. About half of the buildings were used for living space and half for storage.
Construction detail of replica building
The Coombs Valley site was occupied in the 12th century and was utilized for about 75 years. Corn, or maize was a dietary staple. Other crops were also grown, and there is indication that the people were adept at using native plants for both food and medicinal purposes. Hunting supplemented their diet.
This photo shows how the walls were constructed.
The excavated portion of the site is covered and has walkways around it so you can view the site from different angles. Wooden beams poke up out of the soil. They are charred, indicating that at some point, this site burned. It is interesting to look at the excavation and see areas of charcoal on the floor where the fire pits would have been.
View of the excavations on site.
This view of the excavations shows the small rooms.
As you follow the walkways around the site, take a few minutes to read the informational signs. These signs quickly give you an overview of what archaeologists have learned about these ancient residents. We also enjoyed looking at the pit house. Pit houses are common in Fremont culture as well.
Pit house at Anasazi State Park
Metates for corn grinding at Anasazi State Park
Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Anasazi State Park. You can see quite a bit in an hour or two, and this is a great stop during a day trip. The museum and site are small, but hold a lot of information.
View from the excavations.
If you go: Anasazi State Park is located in the town of Boulder, Utah, at 460 N. Highway 12. It is a great stop along Scenic Highway 12. The park is open year round, with extended hours during the summer months. As with all state parks in Utah, there is a small fee.