Wupatki National Monument consists of several pueblos that may be viewed on a self guided tour. Wupaki National Monument is part of a 35 mile park loop, which also has Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument as part of the combined park system. The entrance to this park is approximately 13 miles north of Flagstaff off of Highway 89. We did the volcano lava field hikes a few days earlier and spent several hours touring that part of the park. We returned on a separate day to tour the pueblos. We spent 4 hours exploring the pueblos and visitor center. Although we took our time and were satisfied with the amount of hiking and sightseeing we did, we could have easily spent another hour or two!
This rock surface is believed to have originally served as a patio outside the Wukoki pueblo. It makes a great patio with a wonderful view today! It would have been an area for cooking and a place for the children to play.
Here is a representation of what it may have looked like.
Here is a closer look at the open-air community room. Excavators didn't find any evidence that it was ever closed in with a floor, roof, or walls like a ceremonial kiva would have been. Wupatki was an important center for trade based on items found. Copper bells from Mexico, shell beads, and the remains of more than 40 Macaws from Mesoamerica were found. Tribal groups, both Puebloan and non-Puebloan, gathered at Wupatki.
Here is a cute little resident! He looked a bit bigger and scarier as he crossed the sidewalk in front of us!
Just like today there was a need for a community dump. This dark brown mound behind the pueblo covers the community refuse. It is referred to as a midden. It has only been excavated enough to know its purpose. Excavation is costly and it is looked upon as a last resort for preservation. Excavations are only implemented, if the area cannot be preserved in place.
Fine cotton textiles and abundant tools suggest weaving was an important and highly developed skill at Wupatki.
This is a giant sinkhole next to the mesa the Citadel is built on. The earth collapses as limestone erodes away below. Nothing was stated as to whether it collapsed while the Citadel was occupied, but wouldn't that have been scary to witness! This sinkhole does not to hold water.
There was one last pueblo sitting off to itself called Lomaki, which means the beautiful house. It beckoned us to hike a bit more, but it was after hours and our bodies were telling us they'd done enough, so the mystery of Lomaki will remain unknown!