The Cliff Dwellings Speak: Exploring the Ancient Ruins of the Greater American Southwest | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/cliff-dwellings-speak-exploring-ancient-ruins-greater-american-southwest[12/8/2015 12:47:08 PM] Home The Cliff Dwellings Speak: Exploring the Ancient Ruins of the Greater American SouthwestThe Cliff Dwellings Speak: Exploring the Ancient Ruins of the Greater American SouthwestSubmitted by jainlayconley on 5-23-2010 10:41 PMAuthor: Beth Sagstetter and Bill Sagstetter Publishing: Denver: BenchMark Publishing of Colorado LLC, 2010. Black and white photos, color photos, index, glossary, bibliography, appendices. xiii + 360 pages. 8 x 11. $24.95 paperback. Reviewer: Meg Van Ness I didnt want to like this book. I was dreading the task of plodding through another Im-so-one-with-thepast tome about ancient puebloan life, cliff dwellings, and the deep dark mysteries of the past. After all, Im a Plains archaeologist who did a few years in the Southwest and quickly returned to rolling grasslands and meandering rivers I love. I didnt need to read another book on those over-photographed, overanalyzed, and over-visited sites in the Four Corners area. I was over it. But then I started to read the book and I remembered why the Southwest and the ancient people who lived there are so amazing. This is a delightful book. It gently and thoroughly weaves the stories of these early peoples with the archaeological studies and techniques that help us understand them. The Sagstetters have provided a combination field guide, textbook, and journal that stands alone as a great read but could also be a wonderful companion while exploring the sites. They have included thoughts and interpretations from archaeologists, historians, and Native Americans providing a well-rounded view from a variety of backgrounds. The book contains enough discussion on archaeological research and techniques to satisfy the professional while keeping the jargon and relentless detail that we archaeologists love to a minimum. The organization of the book also helps the reader understand these structures and artifacts as a part of a human story. By thematically explaining the different aspects of the ruins (rather than the usual chronological treatment) the authors allow the reader to better understand the world as it was for the past inhabitants rather than just a notation along a timeline. The abundant photographs and illustrations make the story come alive, and the glossary, index, and bibliography provide the tools for further exploration. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience the cliff dwellings of the Southwestfrom a comfortable reading chair or a backcountry trail. I even recommend it to my fellow lovers of rolling grasslands and meandering rivers. Reviewer Info: Archaeologist Meg Van Ness earned a BA from the University of Missouri and an MA from Northern Arizona University. She spent sixteen years working with universities and as a consultant, followed by sixteen years at the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation within the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office. For the past five years, she has been the Region 6 historic preservation officer for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanWhile on the Dominguez-Escalante expedition in 1776, Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco drew the first map of Colorado.