Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

May 27, 1998
North of Silver City, New Mexico

Additional photos

The Gila Cliff Dwellings were occupied by a small band of Native Americans in the late 13th century. They were part of the Mogollon culture.

The cliff dwellings were occupied for about twenty years. It is unknown why they were abandoned.

Right: A view to the cliffs from the valley.
Gila Cliff Dwellings : Across the valley.
Gila Cliff Dwellings : T-Shaped doorway shot.

The cliff dwellers took advantage of the large natural caves and built two-story dwellings with the natural materials.

Left: The T-Shaped doorway led to the second floor. Such doorways are common throughout the Southwest.

The cliff dwellers hunted the local wildlife including whitetail and mule deer. They probably farmed in fields next to the nearby Gila River growing corn, beans and squash.

Right:The support beams you see sticking out are vigas (VEE-gahs).
Gila Cliff Dwellings : Walls with vigas.
Gila Cliff Dwellings : Inside one of the caves.

All total there were about forty rooms occupied by 10 to 15 families.

Left:Looking across one of the caves.

They were skilled at weaving and pottery-making. The local yucca plants providing material to make sandals and other clothing. Clay was gathered from the nearby creek or along the Gila River.

Right: Looking back along the cliff.
Gila Cliff Dwellings : Back along the cliff.
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