Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Monday, September 11, 2017


Tuzigoot ruins: Another pre-Columbian community. This was nothing but a stony hill in the 1920s when some locals began mining it for arrowheads and pots to sell to the tourists. Archeologists managed to get it protected, and were able to get funding to excavate. In the 30s WPA paid for a proper archeological dig, and the site was made a federal park. It is just too cool for school! You can walk among these walls that sheltered up to 1100 people centuries ago. The corn mortars are there in ever room, and I imagine the women grinding away every day. Most of the mortars are made of lava which will break down under persistent abrasion, so there was some lava dust in the ground corn which can't have done the teeth of the consumers any good. But they probably didn't live long enough to suffer much dental problems. This hill is in an elbow of a river, with rich flood plaines for farming, to the west, and to the east, a fertile marsh. Their diet must have been varied and abundant. They clearly traded all over there, as there are Zuni and Hopi pots in the ruins.

And they even have a piece of woven cotton fabric. Omigawdomigawd! It was in a case next to a handful of the cotton they would have harvested. With all the seeds and vegetable matter included, it made it clear to me how very labor intensive and time consuming the process would have been. Cotton fabric must have been incredibly valuable! I was jazzed all day after seeing that.
If you are enjoying taking this trip with me, imagine that it is a lovely fall day in Arizona. Everyone is happy because the temperature has NOT gotten into the triple digits. It's a brisk 96 degrees. Since we are near the river, the humidity is right up there - maybe 7%. Butterflies of all sizes and colors drift by, though God only knows what they find to feed on. The flowers, though abundant after the monsoon season, are teensy, weensy little dots of color scattered through the brush. There is an intermittent breeze, and even though it is Sunday, the visitors are few and far between. You can feel the time and the lives that have passed here. The rangers scattered around are cheerful and well informed and happy to discuss all associated topics. 

 They have built a ceiling on the highest room so you can climb up top (they built stairs for us wimpy tourists.  The natives would have used ladders.)
 The roof was built as the original inhabitants would have built it - which means they would have had to walk about a day's journey up into the mountains to find a tall enough tree, then chop it down with a stone ax and drag it all the way back to the community and lever it into place using only manpower.  Across the logs went reeds from the marsh, then brush from the surrounding hills, then mud to seal it all water-tight.  The current roof has rats in the rafters.  They park should get some resident cats.

 The view from the roof of the highest building.  The community spreads downhill on both sides.  The view is breathtaking!  Pictures don't do it justice.


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