[Depicted in Young Indiana Jones and the Lost Gold of Durango; the tenth novel in the series published by Random House, written by authors Megan Stine & William H. Stine, released in 1993]
Henry and Indiana make the trip on behalf of the elder’s friendship with Jesse Walter Fewkes, an archaeologist who’s been excavating the cliff dwellings over the last few years.
During the adventure, Indiana escapes close encounters with rattlesnakes, gunfire, and two local felons on the run from the law - both of whom have a desire to get their hands on the gold.
Jesse Walter Fewkes was an American archaeologist, anthropologist, naturalist, and writer, who is also noted to be the first man to use a phonograph to record indigenous people for study.
In addition to supervising the excavation of Mesa Verde, he also did the same for the Casa Grande ruins in Arizona.
Amongst studying and writing about the customs and values of those native to the land, Fewkes was also one of the first to petition for government preservation of ancient sites across the nation.
Mesa Verde National Park was created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States. The site is best known for structures such as Cliff Palace, said to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America.
The great history of Mesa Verde revolves around the inhabitants of the Ancestral Puebloans, who built the first pueblos (communities) sometime in the 7th century, and by the end of the 12 century they began constructing the massive cliff dwellings that the park is best known for.
By 1285 however, they Paleo-Indians abandoned the area due to severe and prolonged droughts, and moved south to locations in Arizona and New Mexico.