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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Walking Wupatki: Part 4


WUPATKI PUEBLO
The main structure

Welcome to the  main attraction of Wupatki National Monument.  What may have been Arizona's first "planned community" (think: Medieval Anthem), this  community built on the edge of the Colorado Plateau includes a 100-room pueblo, ballcourt and community gathering arena.  Archeological discoveries on the site suggest that a mixture of cultures inhabited this area during the 12th century. Its location at the crossroads of major travel routes coupled with the excavation of myriad pottery and architectural styles indicate that Wupatki may have been an important  way station for commerce.  A nicely paved path with placards corresponding to a guide book available in the visitor center threads among the ruins.  Of particular note are how the stone structures were engineered to take advantage of natural geological features.
Like most folks, the inhabitants of Wupatki loved a good ball game, and just downhill from the big house, a reconstructed ballcourt tells a silent story of an imaginative community that blended  hard work with serious playtime.
ballcourt

LENGTH:  0.5 mile loop
RATING:  easy, paved, some stairs
ELEVATION: 4,900'
PETS: are not allowed on any park trails in buildings.  
Please do not leave pets in cars---heat can be fatal.
THE RULES: as with all archeological sites, it is illegal to tkae or damage anything.  Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Also, do not climb or sit on teh fragile ruins.
FACILITIES: restoom, visitor center, vending machines
GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff, travel north on US 180 to milepost 444.5.  Turn right and continue 13 miles to the  turn off on the right. Roads are 100% paved.
INFO: National Park Service, 928-679-2365

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