dwelling is the general
archaeological term for the habitations of
prehistorical peoples, formed by utilizing niches or caves in high cliffs,
with more or less excavation or with additions in the way of masonry.
Two special sorts of cliff-dwelling are
distinguished by archaeologists;
- 1) the cliff-house, which is actually
built on levels in the cliff itself
- 2) the cavate house, which is dug out,
by using natural recesses or openings.
Some of the most famous of these are the
North American cliff-dwellings, particularly among the canyons of the
southwest, in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Chihuahua in Mexico,
some of which are still used by Native Americans. There has been
considerable discussion as to their antiquity, but modern research finds no
definite justification for assigning them to a distinct primitive race, or
farther back than the ancestors of the modern Pueblo people. The area in
which they occur coincides with that in which other traces of the Pueblo
tribes have been found. The niches which were utilized are often of
considerable size, occurring in cliffs to a thousand feet in height, and
approached by rock steps or log ladders.