Wupatki National Monument
Next, we moved onto Wupatki National Monument. There are more than 800 ruins scattered around the 35,000 plus acres of this vast landscape.
They were built by the ancient Pueblo people around 500 AD. They settled into the area soon after the eruption of Sunset Crater and created these beautifully built dwellings.
Because the land was blanketed with volcanic ash, it improved the soils ability to retain water which meant that planting crops was a good possibility.
Because of that, this area of land became a huge settlement. Agriculture was based mainly on maize and squash raised from the arid land without irrigation.
The ancient Pueblo people thrived in this area for a time. And then they vanished. The reason is unknown.
There are many theories as to why they disappeared. Climate changes could have made their life there more difficult, or they could have moved onto more promising areas.
Perhaps, as the Hopi Tribe believes, they may have lost focus on what is important and failed to lead moral and productive lives. As a result they may have suffered many social and ecological catastrophes, forcing them to move away.
We can only guess…
The structures were very interesting to explore. Tiny doorways made us wonder exactly how tall were these people. Turns out that they were actually about my height.
Dave is a bit taller than that. LOL!
The desert was very hot that day, but in the thick stone walls of the pueblos it was comfortably cool. It was fun to imagine how they had lived and raised their families here in the ancient desert.
The indians believe that their spirits are still here watching over these ancient ruins.
If you get a chance to check out this area of Arizona, it is well worth your time. It is a great place to learn about ancient cultures, respect their talented architecture, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and truly experience the high desert.
Note: If you are visiting in the summer, be sure to bring plenty of drinking water and be aware that you are in the desert where there can be dangerous wildlife such as coyotes and snakes.
Our visit with Lynda and Jeff was a lot of fun. Traveling the country is that much more fun when we can share our adventures with friends and family. We look forward to seeing them again at our next campground!