Cliff Palace is one of several dwelling areas deserted long ago.
Mesa Verde National Park
"Mesa Verde, Spanish for 'Green Table,' offers an unparalleled opportunity to see and experience a unique cultural and physical landscape. Visitors walk through cliff dwellings and numerous mesa top villages built by Ancestral Pueblo people between AD 600 and AD 1300."
- NPS (http://www.nps.gov/meve/mvnp/pages/mvnp.htm)
To end the trip that focuses on evolution, we will move into the field of archaeology. Like evolution, archaeology is another type of knowledge acquisition that depends on physical evidence rather than simply written evidence, as history does (though some physical evidence may be in the form of pictures or writing). It will be interesting to learn about a culture which is distant and relatively foreign to most modern Americans, even some Native Americans. To learn about their idea of the creation of living things and to compare it to other cultural and scientific ideas.
The Anasazi (the "Ancestral Pueblo people") are the peoples whos ideas we will explore. We may find that there is no competition between their ideas, Christian ideas or any other ideas. They may all be "right" in the context of the culture in which they were formed. Neither their ideas nor any others have to exist at the expense of the scientific view.
In addition to the Anasazi culture, due to the fires that burned through the park during the summer of 2000, the park is also a good case-study in ecological succession. Situated between the high San Juan mountains to the northeast and the relatively lower deserts to the southwest, Mesa Verde is an example of a transitional ecosystem.