MVF Projects // Preservation


Cliff Palace Preservation

Cliff Palace is the jewel of Mesa Verde National Park. It is a 148-room, 23-kiva archeological site in a sloping alcove located in Cliff Canyon. A kiva is a special room used by both Ancestral and modern Puebloans for spiritual rituals. The rooms and kivas are supported by many sandstone masonry retaining walls.

Unfortunately, cracks within Cliff Palace indicate that part of the ruin is in danger of slipping into the canyon below and urgently needs to be stabilized. Because these walls are built on loose substrate without any ties to a solid surface, movement of the substrate is causing sections of Cliff Palace to shift. As a result, the retaining wall and two kivas are showing severe cracking and bowing.

There are two main suspected causes of this movement: water seepage affecting below-grade soil settlement, and the weight of visitors walking through the site, which adds to the sub-surface soil movement.

Stabilization of Cliff Palace requires a multi-phased project that will:
  1. conduct a geotechnical engineering assessment of the retaining wall along the talus slope in Cliff Palace
  2. determine the foundation material within the alcove on which prehistoric architecture is built
  3. determine what type of retaining wall system is necessary to arrest the suspected downward movement of the site
  4. construct a retaining wall capable of arresting the downward movement of the site
  5. make necessary repairs to the deteriorating masonry and repair existing cracks in architecture

Visit this link to hear about the stabilization of Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park!

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