Thursday, July 30, 2015

Exploring Arizona: Wupatki

Filling out his Junior Ranger packet  
Working with friends on the Junior Ranger packet
Checking out the blowhole near the ball court at Wupatki
Wupatki Ballcourt
Getting their Junior Ranger badge for Wupatki
A short drive from Sunset Crater is Wupatki National Monument. In this seemingly barren desert people lived, building homes and raising families. The pueblos clustered in this area are from the ancient ancestors of the Hopi, Zuni and other puebloan people. The structures are truly fascinating. The main pueblo would have had 100 rooms. The people who lived here were farmers as well as hunters. There is evidence of trade among the ruins, and the existence of a ball court shows that peoples in the area traveled and shared cultural interests. It became a gathering place for people within fifty miles. While walking through the site, the kids found pottery shards by one of the gathering places. It was an amazing discovery that they were able to share with the Ranger, who encouraged their interest. The shards were set back where we found them once we looked at the design and felt the smooth face. I found it interesting that this pueblo housed different peoples over the course of time. They maintained the pueblo constantly and had areas for food stores preparing for eventual crop failures. Water would have been scarce even then, so buildings were erected with water preservation in mind. Archeologists have found huge ollas that were used for water storage and collecting runoff from the buildings. We spent a bit of time talking to the ranger. He was full of interesting information and even shared his journey to becoming a park ranger. We would like to come back and explore again in winter to see how the landscape changes.