Tuzigoot – People of the Crooked Water

Upper rooms of the pueblo

Perhaps the best example of Sinaguan architecture sits atop a sandy-limestone outcrop in the heart of the Verde Valley.  The freestanding, three-story, stone structure consisting of 110 rooms once provided shelter from the summer heat for many Puebloan families between 1125 to 1400 AD.

Louis Caywood and Edward Spicer of the University of Arizona, excavated Tuzigoot in 1935 with the help of Federal Government funds distributed through the Civil Works Administration and the Works Project Administration.  They uncovered a treasure trove of artifacts, including pottery of various sizes used for cooking and storage, manos and matates for grinding ricegrass, buckwheat, dried cactus fruit and cattail roots. Among these artifacts they also discovered bone awls and needles, axes, knives and hammers. A small number of these artifacts are currently on display in the newly renovated Visitor Center.

Interior of the restored upper room

The industrious Sinaguans adapted well to the abundant food sources available in the Verde Valley. They harvested sunflower seeds and walnuts to extract oils, and collected pinion nuts and acorns for food, along with wild grape, rose, hackberry and yucca. Their diets also included meat mainly from antelope, rabbit, deer, turtle and duck.  Regardless of the high nutritional value of their foods the infant mortality rates hovered near 60% and a small life span of approximately 40 years for adults.

Detail of the stabilized interior walls.

Burial rituals for adults often included dressing the body in a cotton robe, the application of blue and green paint to the faces, and subsequent wrapping the head in a coarse woven fabric made of rushes.  Infants were buried in the floors of the parents home.  In fact, the floor of the top room in Tuzigoot is sealed with asphalt to preserve the graves of infants from intrusion.


Further reading:

 Ruins Along the River

 Tuzigoot National Monument

Tuzigoot National Monument , P.O. Box 219, Camp Verde, Arizona 86322

Visitor Information  (928) 634-5564

Headquarters  (928) 567-5276


About © Rita Boehm

Copyright 2015 Rita Boehm. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Photographs, artwork, and/or related text are available for licensing. Contact writer for further information
This entry was posted in archaeology, Arizona, history, museums, photography, ruins, travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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