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|1||University of Arizona
Department of Sociology
Address: PO Box 210027, Tucson, AZ 85721-0027
Phone: (520) 621-3531
Email: [email protected]
|2||Arizona State University
School of Social and Family Dynamics
Address: PO Box 873701, Tempe, AZ 85287-3701
Phone: (480) 965-6978
Email: [email protected]
Wupatki – a restless place to live
Arizona is the area with the largest concentration of native Indian dwellings – puebel. One of these places is Wupatki Pueblo, which, together with other historical monuments of this type in 1924, was included under the protection of the reservation called the National Monument.
The age of the Arizona puebella is estimated at more than 700 years, but Wupatki itself will introduce you to a history almost two thousand years old. It is thus the oldest surviving pueblo in the USA and its name means “Tall House” in translation. The buildings you will see here are made of stones and typical red bricks of expanded chipped Moencopi sandstone. Puebla thus blended in perfectly with the surrounding landscape. In these places, the cultures of individual Native American tribes met, which functioned in the local conditions for several hundred years in perfect balance with nature. Members of the Sinagua, Hopi, Cohonina and Kayenta Anasazi tribes lived here. The area is therefore considered an important crossroads of Native American traditions, each tribe boasted its own and specific architecture, ceramics, materials used and colors.
As there has been a great migration of people here for many centuries, Wupatki is very diverse and multicultural. Over 125 types of ceramics have been found in this area, which are of great historical value today. One of the mysteries is that there were buildings among the local ruins that are not typical of the original Pueblan population. A good example is the “ballroom”, which is a playground for ball games. This type of entertainment is more typical of Latin America, the culture of the Maya and Aztecs. No other such playgrounds were found in southwestern America, so the theory was that Wupatki was probably in contact with Yucatan cultures. Other interesting buildings are residential houses, which are still inhabited by rangers leading the information center.
Arizona is a very active tectonic area, earthquakes are relatively common, and in the past it was volcanic activity. The earth’s surface therefore formed dynamically, which affected the lives of the locals. But it had its pros and cons. Volcanic activity drove them out of their homes, but falling ash refined the soil. Therefore, people kept coming back and rebuilding their lives.
One of the active volcanoes, for example, is Sunset Crater, located about 5 miles from Wupatki and not far southeast of the Grand Canyon. The surrounding landscape is largely covered with black volcanic dust, only in some places green grass or tall pine trees appear. Sunset Crater has exploded several times in the past, but the strongest eruptions took place in 1064, 1180, 1264 and 1300. During the last eruption, liquid lava erupted to a height of several hundred meters. Even today, however, seismographs at Ranger Station experience slight tremors. The Hopi Indians considered the local craters to be the abode of the wind god.
In the 1920s, a Hollywood company wanted to stage a series of eruptions to film a massive volcanic eruption. However, many people did not like this and it led the conservationists to declare the crater a National Monument. Until 1973, it was possible to make an ascent to the crater of the volcano, but today it is already forbidden. However, you have the opportunity to take a short trip leading along the Lava Fow Nature Trail, during which you will pass several information boards with descriptions of the local fauna and flora.
Wupatki Pueblo achieved its greatest development sometime around 1100. The ancestors of today’s Hopi and Zuni Indians built vast farming communities here. At that time, there were about 100 rooms in the pueblo, which were divided according to hierarchy. Today, in these places you can enjoy the largest preserved dwelling, which is the ruin of a three-story Puebla Wupatki. In its heyday, it provided a home for about 300 people. Today, the National Monument is crossed by a road branching off Route 89, which is a kind of 58 km long scenic route.