Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wupatki Ruins National Monument

 Located just a few miles north of the Sunset Crater Volcanic Monument is the Wupatki Ruins Monument. This location was home to a large number of native Americans who built extensive pueblo style buildings and homes over 1,000 years ago.

 This main building shows the amazing size of the ruins that still remain over 1,000 years after they were abandoned. We did not know what to expect, but were really surprised at the size and complexity of the buildings.

 This artist reproduction of the above building shows how experts believe the structure looks in the 1,000 ad time frame, which was right before the Sunset Crater volcano erupted. Apparently, several thousand people lived in this area in the many buildings that dot the landscape.

 We were able to walk all the way around the ruins which allowed us to get a great idea as to the size of the structure. At the height of the construction, it is thought that this structure contained over 100 rooms!

It was very hot during our visit (about 95 degrees), but we were really surprised at how much cooler it was in one of the rooms of the pueblo. The thick walls really hold the heat out.

 Here, you can see how the walls were constructed. Each rock was carefully placed using a clay-based mortar which still holds well hundreds of years later. Further, if you look closely at the back wall, you can see a wooden beam still in place. According to the folks at the Visitor Center, this may well be an original beam still in place 1,000 years later.

 There are many of these ruins in the area and we saw quite a few of them. Each structure was situated in a strategic spot for defense and a handy place to live with regard to farming and hunting.

This was apparently a very developed society that was able to function in this challenging environment. They must have lived here for many years to have been able to complete all these structures, but this came to an abrupt end with the eruption of the nearby volcano.

This was a very interesting and unexpected find during our short stay in the Flagstaff area.

1 comment:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great tour, another good reason to go back to flagstaff.