Tuzigoot National Monument is a fairly well-preserved 110-room, 2-3 story pueblo ruin built by the pre-Columbian Sinagua peoples. According to Wikipedia, "The Tuzigoot Site is an elongated complex of stone masonry rooms ... built along the spine of a natural outcrop in the Verde Valley."
There were few doors in the complex. Rooms were mostly accessed through trapdoors in the roofs with ladders.
In Hopi legend this is one of the first ancestral homelands in a long migration that followed a wide easterly arc through Montezuma Castle and Well to Chavez Pass and Sunset Pass up through the Homolovi pueblo and ultimately to the Hopi mesas.
Tuzigoot is administered by the National Park Service and - as such - has a well-displayed arttifact museum, informative video presentation, and the ubiquitous bookstore.
Nearby Cottonwood has developed a lively Bohemian district with some fun shops, art galleries, and eateries, where you can wash down the trail dust.
The Sinagua obtained minerals for jewelry and trade goods from the nearby Mingus Mountains. Many years after they abandoned Tuzigoot settlers came to the area and dug many mines in the mountains to obtain copper, argillite, malachite and azurite. Settlements like the nearby town of Jerome were established throughout the mountains.
The ruins require constant work to stabilize the walls and repair damage due to weather and other destructive forces. The rangers use a variety of more modern tools but they try to make the repairs as invisible as possible.
The Sinagua chose this location for the pueblo because it was located near the fertile land of the Verde River Valley. This land was ideal for growing crops and the water from the river also attracted lots of game for hunting. Its location along the river also made it a natural stop for traders moving through the area. Photos 2 and 3 show some of the irrigation canals dug by the Sinagua.
On one side of the Tuzigoot Pueblo is a flat open area that was used as a plaza. This plaza was a gathering area for the vilagers and was used for the preparation of food. In the middle of this plaza you can see more Metate. This area may also have been used for gatherings with other tribes and for religious ceremonies.
The pueblo required constant upkeep to repair damage from weather or time. As the community grew, additions were made to the original pueblo. At its peak, Tuzigoot housed around 225 people. Most of the rooms were for single families and were used for sleeping and eating, however, some of the later rooms had areas for cooking fires and trough shaped stones called Metates along with stones called Manos used for grinding grain were found here.
The rooftops of the rooms were flat and served as additional living space. The breezes and open air of the rooftop must have been welcome during the hot summer months. The rooftops served as places for grinding meal, preparine food for cooking, repairing equipment, and watching for traders or threats to the community.
This is the interior of an early room in the pueblo. The room frequently had a hole dug in the corner where the family would keep an earthen jar of drinking water. Entrance was gained by a ladder that descended from a hole in the roof. This hole also provided light and ventilation. If the family had a child that died the body was buried in a stone-lined crypt below the floor of the room in hopes that the soul would be incorporated into future generations and not be lost.
Your first stop at Tuzigoot National Monument will be the Visitors Center. Here you can get park brochures and any souvenir needs you may have (like postcards for your VT friends). They also have a pretty nice museum and they can provide any information you need about the park and the surrounding area to make your trip more enjoyable.
Sometime around 1000 AD the Sinagua people built a large pueblo on the edge of the Verde Valley. They built an agricultural based society here and established hundreds of miles of trade routes with neighboring tribes. The pueblo was two to three stories high and had 110 rooms. The US Park Service established Tuzigoot National Monument to preserve this important historical area. In addition to Tuzigoot, there are Sinagua ruins in Walnut Canyon, Montezuma's Castle and Wupatki nearby. The Sinagua left the area in the 1400s. Many believe they blended in with the Hopi Nation. An easy, paved, interpretive trail leads around the ruins at Tuzigoot. You can enter some of the ruins for a more intimate experience and try to imagine what life was like here in the 1000s.
Ok, we got the biggest kick out of our son. He waited very patiently to use the grinding stone because some other little girl was playing with it. It is located within an actual room that you can enter and they have corn available to let anyone who wanted to experience this chore from the past. Of course he had to be animated when he was doing it. He made his father and myself just crack up. He is quite the character. So make sure you check out this little find.
This is Cane Cholla (Opuntia spinosior) This cacti is a plant you don't want to be upfront and personal with. It is a very common plant in this area. So when you are hiking, climbing or just generally strolling around. Please be careful. It actually looks very soft in texture, but those spines are a good indication it is not. Javilians are a wild pig that love to snack on fruit this plant produces during March, called Cactus Moom. The native people used them in a boiled stew. They are supposely have a butter flavor and boild with squash and baked in a pit.
Desert Prickley Pear (Cactaceae) A very common Prickly Pear locally, fruits are edible and very sweet, used to make jellies and candy. The fruit's juice can be used as a bright red dye. If you notice bites taken from the pads, that is usually the work of Javelina.
Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata) A very common yucca in our area - sharp points at the ends of leaves, leaf edges with curled fibers. Fruits are edible, and the plant was an important food source for indigenous people
This not alone just a beautiful monument, but the views from the top floor Pueblo afffords you 360 views of the whole surrounds area. Cottonwood, Clarksdale, and you can even see the red rock of Sedona. We stayed here for quiet some time just taking in the beautiful scenery. People seem to think Arizona is nothig but desert landscape, but in reality Arizona has some the lush areas of forrest. Many wonderful camping and recreation areas available. So if you can see this monument, make the time to check out the top floor of the pueblo.
Tuzigoot is Apache for crooked water. They were a prehistoric people called the Sinagua who built these pueblos and lived in them from around 1125 and 1400 CE. They benefitted from farming, good source of water, and trade. They were accomplished in sculpting stones and jewelry making. Many wonderful pieces have been discovered from excavation. This pueblo is one the most preserved structures and probably housed as many to 77 and 110 rooms. This structure has been preserved by beefing up the walls with new mortar. What I find so special about this structure is you can actually walk around it, touch it and explore the top floor of the pueblo. By actually seeing it in person gives a small glimpse in the everyday life of such wonderful people rich in culture.
$5.00 - 7 Days
$8.00 Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle National Monuments - 7 Days
Tuzigoot National Monument is open From Memorial Day through Labor Day 8 AM- 6 PM
From Labor Day through Memorial Day 8 AM -5 PM
This vistor center was build around the 1935 like a pueblo with local natural materials to compliment the monument. Franklin D. Roosevelt designated the ruins as a U.S. National Monument on July 25, 1939. After a extensive excavation was performed back in the 1934 discovered many wonderful artifacts that are still on display at this wonderful center. Plenty of materials on displays and a small gift shop. Lots of shade during the hot summer months and restrooms available.