Lens Travels - Living our Dreams! travel blog














On the way back from Jerome we decided to stop in at Tuzigoot National Monument which we knew nothing about. What we found was a pueblo that was occupied between 1100 and 1425 A.D. It was once a thriving community, one of the largest in the Verde Valley. The people who lived here were part of a culture archeologists call Sinagua.

Archeologists believe humankind first entered this landscape 10,000 to 13,000 years ago, thousands of years before the pueblo walls were built. Although the land looks dry and sparse, this setting provided a virtual breadbasket for hundreds of generations of hunter-gathers. Cacti, mesquite, yucca, juniper, and other plants provided materials for food, medicine, and even crafts. Throughout the Verde Valley, four distinct ecosystems provided dozens of edible and useful plants, all within walking distance of most locations.

Today several small springs produce 9-12 gallons of water per second, an incredibly important resource in this desert environment. In prehistoric times, they likely gushed even more. The water was probably fundamental to the selection of Tuzigoot's ridge for a permanent dwelling by 1100 A.D.

By the late 1300's the people of the Verde Valley began to move. A few families at a time, they left their homes and migrated to new places. By 1425 Tuzigoot's rooms were empty.

It was quite moving to spend time there imagining the culture that thrived there for longer than the US has been a country and trying to imagine why they would leave a place like this.

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