Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Montezuma Castle/Well National Monument, AZ

From Wikipedia:   located near Camp Verde, Arizona, north of Phoenix, features well-preserved cliff-dwellings. They were built and used by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people around 700 AD. Several Hopi clans trace their roots to immigrants from the Montezuma Castle/Beaver Creek area. Clan members periodically return to their former homes for religious ceremonies. When European Americans discovered them in the 1860s, they named them for the Aztec emperor (of Mexico) Montezuma II, due to mistaken beliefs that the emperor had been connected to their construction.

The Verde River Valley is a lush valley that contains all the elements that would support any tribe of Native Americans for many generations.  It was a gorgeous day, sunny and in the mid 70s.  I just couldn't believe that approx 35 people lived in this cliff dwelling for many generations.  The ladder climb was just unthinkable, and without safety harnesses.  I'm sure OSHA would not have approved.

There were many other dwellings along this fertile valley, and the ranger estimated that there were at least 500 of these over the stretch of a hundred miles perhaps.

More dwellings about 200 yards south of the previous dwellings. 

Just hard to imagine making this trek, just once, much less every day.  Guess if you're young and strong and didn't want to put up with the threats nature can throw at you, it's not so bad.

Many of the dwellings have eroded away, or were destroyed by the elements or fire.

From Wikipedia:  Montezuma Well (Yavapai: Ahakaskyaywa) is a natural limestone sinkhole near Rimrock, Arizona through which some 1,400,000 gallons of water flow each day through two underground springs. It is located 11 miles (18 km) northeast of the castle. The well measures in at 368 feet across and 55 feet deep. The water is highly carbonated and contains high levels of arsenic.  Montezuma Well's outflow has been used for irrigation since the 8th century. Part of a prehistoric canal is preserved at the picnic ground, and portions of the original Sinagua canal are still in use today.

Within the well walls are these dwellings.

Adobe ruins just above the well rim.

Miss Nancy taking a break.

Well, that's about it for the Montezuma Castle ruins and the Well.  We later drove over to Tuzigoot NM and even later, Jerome, the old mining town.  But I'll blog them separatly tomorrow.  Till then, Joe & Nancy.