Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 4: Tuzigoot Sinaguan Ruins

Standing on the roof of Tuzigoot looking north. The light brown near the cliff is the marsh.

Tuzigoot, which is Apache for crooked water is the remains of a Sinaguan pueblo. It also turned out to be my mother’s favorite site on the trip. She liked the idea of seeing an entire village. I liked it because they have reconstructed the roof of the highest part of the structure so you can stand on the top and view the entire area. This might be the viewing loving Coloradoan in me or it might be the fact that the Sinaguans lived on their roofs, and this reconstruction provides a glimpse into that experience.

Looking up at the ruins from the far southern extent of the walkway. There were two gringo women here conducting some faux Indian ritual. The doubt the original inhabitants would have appreciated such misguided beliefs.

This ruin is near Cottonwood, which is 20 miles east of Sedona. We combined this visit with a trip up to Jerome, an old mining village high up Mingus Mountain. Jerome turned out to be such a dud that I won’t bother blogging it. If you go to Tuzigoot, combine it with Palaki and Honaki for a ruins blitzkrieg.

Looking south to the point where I took the previous picture. You can see the green trees and lush farmland of the Verde Valley. It is not difficult to imagine ancient fields covering the entire region surrounding the site.

Tuzigoot sits on a tall ridge that rises 120 feet above the surrounding Verde Valley. About 50 people inhabited the village from 1125 to at least 1400. I would like to see a modern tract home survive that long.

Looking west. Jerome sites on the far hillside. This view is not pristine. In the distance is a copper mine. Most of the ground here is reclaimed from the mine tailings. Who knows what it would have looked like in ancient times.

The Apache name for the site is very apropos. At one point the Verde River actually hooked around the settlement in what is technically called an oxbow. At one point the river broke through the ridge to the south, sending the river away from the settlement. The marsh, which provided both food and reeds to the inhabitants of Tuzigoot managed to survive, fed but a spring.

Interior of the reconstructed tall house. It gives you an idea of the type of construction needed to build multi-story structures.

1 comment:

Lindab said...

Fascinating. I'm continuing to enjoy this tour.