Wupatki National Monument
Guests get to see history and ancestry that is still honored and remembered, they get to see America as it was prior to being colonized and what kind of knowledge and tenacity it took to live in the southwestern deserts - gain appreciation for what these cultures achieved and how robust their traditions were that they are still revisited today. Today we are visiting Wupatki National Monument - nestled between the Painted Desert and ponderosa highlands of northern Arizona, Wupatki is a landscape of legacies. Ancient pueblos dot red-rock outcroppings across miles of prairie. Where food and water seem impossible to find, people built pueblos, raised families, farmed, traded, and thrived. Today, if you linger and listen, earth and artifacts whisper their stories to us still. Walk alongside history that dates back thousands of years as we visit The Citadel and Nalakihu as well as the Wupatki Pueblo and learn about the fascinating stories of how communities build and lived in these pueblos through a self-guided visit along the information plates. A ranger on site is happy to answer any additional questions. The pueblo settlements in Wupatki appear to follow a particular pattern of development. Small family structures with few rooms surround larger community pueblos with many rooms such as Wupatki and Citadel. It is because of this pattern that archeologists refer to different communities within the Wupatki basin which may have been settled by different clans or family groups and may have had somewhat different cultural and religious habits. There is evidence that people have lived in the Citadel area as far back as the Archaic period (8,000 - 500 BCE) using smaller sites as seasonal hunting camps.By the time Citadel and Nalakihu were constructed in the early 1100s, the community was a thriving agricultural society with trade reaching in all directions for hundreds of miles. Evidence of the mixture of cultural influences can be seen in the ceramic wares found in the area as well as the existence of different types of human burials, including one cremation which is a tradition from the Hohokam people to the south. Citadel Pubelo sits atop a small cinder hill and can be seen by any of the surrounding smaller pueblos such as Lomaki and Box Canyon. The walls were built to follow the outline of the hill and constructed with both sandstone and basalt (volcanic rocks).There are hundreds of smaller pueblo structures (1 - 20 rooms) surrounding Citadel as well as traces of agricultural fields, terraces, rock alignments, water catchments, and check dams. Soil samples from around these sites revealed pollen and seeds from domesticated plants such as corn, squash, beans, tobacco, and even cotton. Although it is no longer physically occupied, Hopi believe the people who lived and died here remain as spiritual guardians. Stories of Wupatki are passed on among Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, and perhaps other tribes. Members of the Hopi Bear, Sand, Lizard, Rattlesnake, Water, Snow, and Katsina Clans return periodically to enrich their personal understanding of their clan history. These places are remembered and cared for, not abandoned.