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WUPATKI NATIONAL MONUMENT

Wupatki National Monument is located just north of Flagstaff, Arizona, off Highway 89.  The Visitor Center is open all year except December 25.  Visitor Center hours are 9 A.M. - 5 P.M.  MST  November - April and 8 A.M. - 5 P.M. MST May - October.  Monument admission fees are $5 per person, which are also good for entrance into Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.  Wupatki National Monument was established by President Calvin Coolidge on December 9, 1924, to preserve the Citadel and Wupatki pueblos.  Less than 800 years ago, Wupatki was the tallest, largest, and perhaps the richest and most influential pueblo around.  It was home to 85-100 people, and several thousand more lived within a day’s walk.  Human history here spans at least 10,000 years.  But only for a time, in the 1100s, was the landscape this densely populated.  The eruption of nearby Sunset Crater Volcano a century earlier probably played a part.  Families that lost their homes to ash and lava had to move.  They discovered that the cinders blanketing lands to the north could hold moisture needed for crops.  As the new agricultural community spread, small scattered homes were replaced by a few large pueblos, each surrounded by many smaller pueblos and pithouses.  The lower left-hand picture above was a Kiva or meeting place.  The lower right-hand picture above was a ball court.  Wupatki, Wukoki, Lomaki, and other masonry pueblos emerged from bedrock.  Trade networks expanded, bringing exotic items like turquoise, shell jewelry, copper bells, and parrots.  Wupatki flourished as a meeting place of different cultures.  Then, by about 1250, the people moved on.  The Wupatki Pueblo Trail, starting at the Visitor Center, is a self-guided tour of the largest pueblo in the park.  Don't miss the blowhole, a fascinating geologic feature.  The trail is less than a half-mile round trip.  For more information, visit their website at:  http://www.nps.gov/wupa/index.htm

 

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