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The skeletons of burnt pine trees along a ridgeline serve as a reminder of the fires that have ravaged Mesa Verde National Park. About 80 percent of the park has been effected at some point by one of a number of fires that has burned in the park. The archeological sites found in Mesa Verde National Park, near Cortez, Co., are some of the most notable and best preserved sites in the United States. Mesa Verde offers visitors a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people. The culture represented at Mesa Verde reflects more than 700 years of history. From approximately A.D. 600 through A.D. 1300 people lived and flourished in communities throughout the area, eventually building elaborate cliff dwellings in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. (MARC PISCOTTY/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS)

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