Wupatki Pueblo is the largest dwelling in a vast farming community - a 1,000 years ago!
Wupatki is an impressive, multi-story dwelling that incorporated the natural rock outcroppings. The dwelling contained over 100 rooms for storage, sleeping and ceremonial use. A large circular 'community room' and another large circular area for athletic games show that the pueblo was the center of community life for the region.
I'm always impressed with the skill and artistry of the builders. In some areas, the narrow slabs of limestone and sandstone are alternated with layers of much thicker and darker basalt - giving the walls a distinct decorative appeal.
|From the Pueblo, one can see the spectacular Painted Desert in the distance|
|The Pueblo is partially excavated and minimally restored.|
|The large community center circle can be seen in the foreground|
|Here, one can see how the natural stone is incorporated as walls as the pueblo is built around and on the rock.|
|The rock is a combination of sandstone, limestone, and basalt blocks set with a clay-based mortar.|
We also visited nearby Lomaki Pueblo. Lomaki is a series of dwellings perched atop a Box Canyon, or earth crack (a weird name but perfectly descriptive of this dry, deep canyon).
Farmers here practiced dry farming. There was no natural stream; instead they collected rain water in the canyon with a dam and stored water in large clay jars. When necessary, they would travel over 10 miles to collect water from the little Colorado River.
The emerging Sunset Volcano was very active during this period. The pumice covering the ground likely helped farming as it's porosity helped retain the limited moisture from snow/rainfall.
The dwellings had 'patios' that served as community work-areas and were constructed to protect from the prevailing winds, offering shade/sun. They often ran right up to the edge of the rock face - I couldn't help wondering how they kept their toddlers from falling off into the canyon!
|The impressive San Francisco Peaks in the distance.|