Friday, April 12, 2013

Tuzigoot National Monument... near Flagstaff, Az.

This morning we were the first to show up at this National Monument... like 8:05 AM.

Where did they get this name from?  Apparently Tuzigoot means "crooked water" in Apache... which refers to the winding Verde River nearby.  There is lots of other cool information on this Wikipedia site.

In the Visitors Centre I saw this poster on the wall... and I wanted to know where this photo taken from... and how could I get one like it?  What a great photo!

The attendant told me that the mayor of Clarkdale, Doug Von Gausig, took that photo from his residence on the hill across the Verde River.  Since it was private property, it was unlikely we would be able to get a photo just like that one.  You can see by the colour of the sunlight that this shot was taken early after sunrise.

So, I asked if there might be another place I might be able to get a long shot of these ruins?  She told me that we might get it if we went to the Dead Horse State Park... which we did after.  My shot is not nearly as dramatic.  The sun was higher and not as yellow... but it does give one a good idea of the scope and magnitude of this ancient 110-room pueblo apparently built in the late 1,300's by the Sinagua people.

At first I was blown away at the quality of these ruins... all done with stone and mortar that had lasted around 600 years.  That is Shirley in the red top in the distance.

And then we saw where workmen had left their tools... three heavy hammers with chisels, etc.

They had excellent plaques around the site telling about the history and the people.  On this plaque they talk about how over time the original mortar eroded, causing the roofs and walls to collapse.  rubble filled the rooms burying and protecting lower wall sections and room floors, including features like hearths and post holes from timbers supporting the roofs.  When archaeologists removed the debris they made every effort to reconstruct the rooms using modern protective measures, including cementing walls...

adding drains to keep water from standing in the rooms, and covering the floor features with dirt.

So bottom line, this place has been totally rebuilt over the years using best efforts to capture the feeling of the original dwellings.

It is a phenomenal archeological site... and as one wanders around this place today you cannot help but think of how awesome it must have been to live in this castle on a hill top, overlooking the Verde River below.  Might this have been looked upon as a "Marriott Residence Inn" or a "Hyatt Regency" in it's day?

There were numerous tools for food preparation.  The trough like "Cusinart" is called mano and metate... and it was used for grinding corn.  The mortar and pestle was used for wheat and grains.  Throughout this site we saw a plentiful variety of these tools.

Shirley and I went thru the room inside this upper most section of the ruins.  This may have been where the chief lived... kind of like the "presidential suite!"  I think if I lived here I would have made sure it had some windows to enjoy the view from this prominent location.

Inside central posts supported a nearly flat roof.  Using flash photography we were able to capture the feeling inside this windowless dark place.

The roof detail shows using beams to support cross members, which in turn carried smaller sticks on which mortar or cement might have been used for a roof top patio or lookout.

From this pinnacle on the property one can see in every direction... an excellent place to early spot any attacking enemies.  Today we look across the river at the mayor of Clarkdale's home on the ridge.

Or at the Blazin M Ranch to the south-east. Check out their link for fun and fixin's.  This also would be a great spot to take an early morning photo of Tuzigoot.

Looking to the west in the 1940's this large field was a tailings pond for copper mining...

photo by Shirley
and further west on the hillside is evidence of current mining activity.

photo by Shirley

You almost have to be here to get a feeling of the magnitude and scale of this pueblo.  110 rooms is a huge development.

People come here from all over the United States...

And Australia and Europe.  In fact, after we left this place and stopped at the Tourist Information in Cottonwood, we ran into a couple visiting here from Goerlitz, Germany.  You have to see Shirley's post for today for all the amazing details.

Today men have built "monuments" all over the United States.  Some for high and noble purposes... and others for selfish reasons.

"New York City is a great monument to the power of money and greed... a race for rent." -Frank Lloyd Wright


  1. Beautiful post, Pa. Love the adobe leftovers... and the blue skies, too!

  2. Thanks Sherilee, It was quite amazing to see such good design happening 700 years ago. And the scale of the project, howbeit was likely done over many years or decades, is still incredible.