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London, United Kingdom
December 16, 2007
Meaning "crooked water" in Apache, Tuzigoot was built between 1125 and 1400 by the Sinagua people. Originally two stories high and with 77 ground floor rooms, this village has a commanding view over the surrounding area and it’s possible to see up to the nearby hillside town of Jerome. The entry fees are the same as at Montezuma Castle and while the exhibition within the visitors centre is a little more rudimentary, it still makes for fascinating reading as it illustrates the Sinagua trade routes, the preservation of Native American Indian heritage as well as examples of pottery, axes and weaving.
Walking around the monument doesn’t take very long as the trail is only about 1/2 mile in length, but you have the opportunity to look directly into the ruins and to walk up through one reconstructed room to the rooftop. Entry to rooms for the Sinagua was traditionally by way of ladders through openings in the roof but the well-paved paths and short staircase make it an easier ascent for modern day visitors. For preservation purposes, visitors are not allowed to climb over the walls into the open air rooms but the one room at the very top where visitors do have access gives a commanding 360° view of the valley. From here you get an excellent overview of the construction of the village and arrangement of its many rooms.
As at Montezuma Castle, signs along the trails offer interesting factoids about the Sinagua and the area they inhabited. Below the monument, one board explains how Sinagua "trash" sites have yielded valuable clues about their day to day life, such as the fact that they planted squash, corn and bean crops and used wild grasses for dyes, medicines and weaving materials. Sinagua adults rarely lived beyond the age of forty. When they died, their bodies were wrapped in cotton cloths and they were buried in the hillside with a few personal possessions. At Tuzigoot, 408 such burial sites have been found.
As at Montezuma Well, Tuzigoot is fully exposed to the sun so you’d be wise to wear a hat and sunscreen here too. On our way out there was line of pots containing examples of local flora; including a squash plant that looked a little worse for wear. A printed sign explained the party responsible for its demise: "Look at what the Javelina did to my squash plant."
From journal Rubies in the Dust: Sedona & the Land of the Sinagua
August 28, 2005
From journal Indian Ruins Trip
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills), California
January 22, 2005
From journal Four Days in Sedona
Raleigh, North Carolina
May 23, 2004
The homes that the Sinaqua built here were without doors or windows. The roofs were flat and there was a hole in the top through which they entered. This hole also served as ventilation. They used ladders to climb up and down. As their numbers grew, they built more rooms (one family to a room, thank you) using native rocks and clay. They traded with other peoples near and far as evidenced by relics found in the ruins -- seashells, pottery shards, and parrot remains.
There is an excellent museum on site that brings these people to life and displays many of the artifacts uncovered during the excavations. A hike along the Tavasci Marsh trail is fun and instructive. You will see many lizards and desert plants along the path and then be surprised by the lush green marsh below. This site has excellent informative plaques describing the formation of the marsh, the plant life you will see, how it was used by the ancient ones, and the way of the life of the Sinaqua at this site.
From journal A Week in Wonderful Sedona
by Dave Lapha
May 3, 2004
There at the crown of the summit stand the remnants of a Sinagua Village built between 1125 and 1400. From the park ranger we learned that at one time the original pueblo was 2 stories high in some places and had at least 77 ground-floor rooms. Main entry to the pueblo was by ladders through openings in the roofs. They believe about 50 persons inhabited the village for a hundred years. Then as a drought began in outlying areas in the 1200s the population began doubling.
The Sinagua of the Verde Valley were peaceful village dwellers. Considered farmers they grew crops of corn, beans, squash and cotton. They had plenty of water, a fertile land around them and plenty of animals for hunting. They also found an important commodity in the area, which was salt. They also enjoyed making stone tools such as axes, knives, hammers, and manos & metates for grinding corn. They also did a lot of weaving cloth from cotton, as well as drying skins and making baskets. All the above they would trade with Mexican explorers or other Indian tribes for macaws and a more decorated pottery that came from the north.
It’s really hard to believe how these people would build their homes and make tools and everyday appliances from the ingredients of the earth. Or how they fashioned ornaments for themselves or for trading out of shells, turquoise or local red stone for personal decoration. You can learn from all this that family, friendship and hard work really does pay.
From journal Our Vacation in North Central Arizona