ACL Project List

First discovered in 1888, Spruce Tree House is one of the largest alcove sites in Mesa Verde National Park readily accessible to the public.  Located across from the historic park museum and other administrative facilities, Spruce Tree House is one of the best preserved of the cliff dwellings with very complete surface finishes with geometric embellishments, zoomorphs, and bands and fields of various colors.  While the site is sheltered, years of exposure to ground and atmospheric moisture as well as the stress from heavy visitor traffic have left the painted surface finishes in fragile condition.  Since 1999, in collaboration with the National Park Service, the Architectural Conservation Laboratory (ACL) has been implementing a conservation strategy based on the site’s high physical integrity and its prominent location.  Active research into documentation methodology has been paired with culturally sensitive conservation treatment techniques, as well as preventive preservation planning.

The view of Spruce Tree House from the Park Headquarters