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Wupatki National Monument

The Wupatki National Monument is a United States National Monument located in north-central Arizona, near Flagstaff. Rich in Native American … See more

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Jan 2, 2023
This is a wonderful pueblo historic site, comparable to Mesa Verde. Park is well maintained, designed and interpreted. Staff were exceptionally available and helpful. Full review by weberbruce2
Dec 22, 2022
One of 3 awesome National Monuments located in the Flagstaff area, it is definitely worth a look. Lots of ancient structures to check out. Highly Recommend! Full review by Walter O
Dec 19, 2022
This National Monument is a must see. It is well interpreted and presented. The walk-through historical site is not strenuous and guidebooks are provided. Full review by Peter P

Articles

Experience a Legacy
Wupatki National Monument has one of the warmest, driest places on the Colorado Plateau, with little obvious food or water. People lived and others visited from far and wide. Trade items from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico have been discovered here. Eventually the builders of Wupatki and nearby pueblos moved on, but on trails, and through items left behind. Visitors can examine 900 yr. old artifacts and learn about ancient Southwestern Cultures at the American Southwest Virtual Museum.The many settlement sites scattered throughout the monument were built by the Ancient Pueblo People, more specifically the Sinagua, Cohonina, and Kayenta Anasazi. Wupatki was first inhabited around 500 AD. Wupatki, which means "Tall House" in the Hopi language, is a multistory Sinagua pueblo dwelling having more than 100 rooms. Secondary structures, including two large, apparently uncovered kivalliq structures, stand nearby. A major population influx began soon after the eruption of Sunset Crater in the 11th century, which blanketed the area with volcanic ash; this improved agricultural productivity and the soil's ability to retain water. By 1182, about 85 to 100 people lived at Wupatki Pueblo and by 1225, the site was permanently abandoned. It was a 100-room pueblo with a community room and ball court; making it the largest building for nearly fifty miles. There have also been nearby secondary structures uncovered, including two kivalliq strctures. Based on a careful survey of archaeological sites conducted in the 1980s, an estimated 2000 immigrants moved into the area during the century following the eruption. Agriculture was based mainly on corn and squash raised from the arid land without irrigation. In the Wupatki site, the residents harvested rain water due to the rarity of springs. Around 800 years ago, the Wupatki site was the largest pueblo around.The dwelling's walls were constructed from thin, flat blocks of the local Moenkopi sandstone giving the pueblos their distinct red color. Held together with mortar, many of the walls still stand. Each settlement was constructed as a single building, sometimes with scores of rooms. The largest settlement on monument territory is the Wupatki Ruin, built around a natural rock outcropping. With over 100 rooms, this ruin is believed to be the area's tallest and largest structure for its time period. The monument also contain ruins identified as a ball court, similar to the courts found in Meso-America and in the Hohokam ruins of southern Arizona; this is the northernmost example of this kind of structure. This site also contains a geological blowhole. Other major sites are Wukoki and The Citadel.Today Wupatki appears empty and abandoned. Though it is no longer physically occupied, Hopi believe the people who lived and died here remain as spiritual guardians. Stories of Wupatki are passed on among Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, and perhaps other tribes. Members of the Hopi Bear, Sand, Lizard, Rattlesnake, Water, Snow, and Katsina Clans return periodically to enrich their personal understanding of their clan history. Wupatki is remembered and cared for, not abandoned.
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