think there were thousands of Pueblo people living in the Mesa Verde
area in the late A.D. 1200s. Such a large population needed a lot
of food to support itself. The ancient Pueblo farmers grew corn,
beans, and squash to feed their families.
The best places
to grow crops in southwestern Colorado are in areas with deep soils,
usually on the mesa tops and next
to springs in the canyon bottoms. Some archaeologists believe that,
during the A.D. 1200s, Pueblo people built their villages on the
rocky edges of canyons so that they could save the nearby good farmland
for their crops.
Living on the
canyon edge also allowed the Pueblo farmers to be close to the water
in the bottom of the canyon. After summer rainstorms, they could
divert water onto their fields in the canyon bottoms.