Friday, April 18, 2014

Montezuma Was Not Here

We visited  Tuzigoot National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma Well a couple of days ago.  They are all in the Verde Valley near Cottonwood AZ and the Dead Horse State Park where we are camped for a few days.
Tuzigoot is Apache for "Crooked Water" and is the name given pueblo ruins that were discovered in the 1930's.
Work crews under the supervision of archeologists uncovered a series of connected Singua structures that are the largest and best preserved buildings of its type.
From Toozigut, we drove over to Montezuma Castle which was about 25 minutes away.  It was much more crowded and it was time for lunch so we ate some sandwiches Pam prepared.  We do that more often than not -- fix some snacks and or lunch to take with us.

The name 'Montezuma Castle' was mistakenly attributed to the Aztec god by American settlers in the 1860s.  In fact, the grounds were abandoned by the Singua people 100 years before Montezuma was born.  But the name stuck.

We went through the Visitor's Center and .3 miles down the walkway to the back side of the cliff and saw the castle.  Pretty remarkable cliff dwellings.
As with the ruins at Toozigut, researchers and archeologists have gone back and 'reconstituted' the grounds to what it was probably like hundreds of years ago.  Sadly, erosion and souvenir seekers have done a lot of damage over the years and it has been restored to what it probably like.

The Singua people, northern Arizona cousins of the Hohokam, built these prehistoric dwellings (circa 1400 A.D.) near the Beaver Creek.  Rooms here were thought to be as large as able to accommodate 45-50 people.
Teddy Roosevelt made it a National Monument in 1906.  Early visitors could climb ladders and actually walk around in the room but that was discontinued in 1951.

It was quite an impressive area and one that our family came to see on a day trip back in the 1960's.   As an 8 or 9 year old, I don't remember too much about it except we used to have some black and white photographs of it.

On the walk back to the Visitor Center, we stopped in and looked around the displays which we always try to do.

Then we were off to see the Montezuma Well which was another 15 minutes down the road.  This display was a self-guided walk of about a mile to the well and the river on the other side of the hill.
This unique site is where 1.5 million gallons of water emerge each day from an underground spring.  The pool of water that is created is about 10 times that amount.  In the underside of the cliff wall, you can see more cliff dwellings and what is thought to be almost 50 rooms that were inhabited by the Singua peoples.
Down the way from the well is a walkway to the river and a canal that has been rebuilt many times over the hundreds of years since the original inhabitants built it.
By the time we finished the walk, we were ready to go back to the campground.  Some times it takes some practice and a personal approach to viewing and trying to digest so much historical information.   Part of the reason for my blogging about these sights is to note it and remember what we say.

The National Park Service and volunteers have done a good job in this area of depicting an explanation of history and sure make it easy for tourists like us to enjoy another great outing!

Thanks for joining us today on some of Montezuma's? old stomping grounds.

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