Saturday, April 24, 2010

Next Stop, Turzigoot

The National Monuments of the Verde Valley near Cottonwood and Camp Verde, AZ--Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Turzigoot--interpret the legacy of the Sinagua culture.

Tuzigoot (Apache for “Crooked Water”) is the name of the Sinaguan Village built on a ridge summit between 1125 and 1400. Looking in all directions from the summit provided advance notice of approaching neighbors, traders, or invaders. To the west is Jerome (top center in the photo above, trust me).

Tuzigoot, in the late 1300s, contained 86 ground floor rooms and possibly 15 second story rooms with about 225 people living here.

Entry to most rooms was by way of ladders through rooftop hatches.

Viewing the remnants from the roof, we could see the separate living areas below. There was a surprising amount of the original structure remaining--after over six centuries.

Limestone and sandstone deposits from the ridge provided the building materials for the walls.

It was surprising to see an enclosed room. Juniper, pine, and cottonwood trees were used for roof support posts.

The limestone ridges to the north are the remnants of sediment deposited when the Verde Valley was an ancient lake.

The view to the south would have shown an area rich in vegetation when the Sinagua lived here.

The Verde Valley received its name from the river of the same name that flowed through it. This agricultural society grew squash, corn, beans, and cotton.

The people also traded copper ore, argilite, and malachite along with their red-on-buff pottery for shells from the Gulf of California, macaws from Mexico, and pottery from neighboring Anasazi and Hopi.

But in spite of this society's development, it vanished around 1400. The reason for the Sinagua's disappearance is unknown, but another group has begun to settle in this area (see the homes in the right side of the opening in the photo on the right).

These recent settlers also see the advantages of living in spaces overlooking the beautiful Verde Valley.

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