Imagine that you live in isolation on a beautiful mesa with a small band of subsistence farmers. Your territory is rugged and difficult to traverse, with steep slopes, deep canyons, and sandstone cliffs, and is strewn with boulders, hoodoos, balanced rocks, and other obstacles. Even the flat places are uneven and covered with piñon, cedar, shrub oak, yucca, cactus, and scrubby dessert plants.
Such was life for the ancestral Puebloan people, often called the Anasazi, who inhabited southeastern Utah. Their cliff-dwelling stage lasted between 1150 and 1300. During this span, they built and decorated a complex on a plateau called Cedar Mesa. In the 1960s, archeologist Bill Lipe of Washington State University dubbed it the “Moon House”. The name stuck. Throughout the structure, its walls carry decorations that may indicate that those who lived there carefully watched the sky.