The earliest inhabitants of the area were nomadic peoples who lived in the area from at least 10,000 B.C., sustaining themselves by hunting game and gathering food plants. The Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi) occupied the area from approximately A.D. 1 to A.D. 1300 and left remarkable remnants of their civilization throughout the region.
The Ancestral Puebloans created a thriving populous civilization that eventually raised towers and built hundred-room cities into the cliffs of Mesa Verde. There are thousands of sites in the area, earning Mesa Verde Country® the honor of being North America's richest archaeological area. Many sites are open to the public for visitation, and there are local museums and institutions dedicated to exploring and interpreting this culture and archaeology. The most famous of these is award-winning Mesa Verde National Park, but visiting others provides a deeper look into the fascinating culture of the Ancestral Pueblo People.