Tuzigoot — Fun To Say, Fascinating To Behold!
Standing in the cool, dark confines of a room that was built 1,000 years ago kicks the imagination into high gear.
Your common humanity with the people who slept, ate, argued and dreamed in this room surges to the surface of your consciousness, and time seems to simultaneously contract and expand.
Tuzigoot National Monument, the ruins of a Sinaguan community just north of Clarkdale, Arizona, off 89A, offers many opportunities for such transcendent moments and should definitely be part of your Verde Valley adventure.
The Sinagua (a name given by archeologists from the Spanish words Sin-without and Agua-water) lived in the Verde Valley from roughly 900 to 1400 AD. They were an agrarian and trading culture whose disappearance from the Verde Valley remains a mystery. Construction at Tuzigoot began around 1125, and at its peak around 1300 it housed perhaps 100 people.
The view from a rooftop gathering place sweeps through the Verde Valley, and it's easy to imagine the Sinaguan people standing on this same roof, watching traders come home from a long journey.
Looking down from Tuzigoot Ancient Sinagua DwellingThe museum at the site is an archaeological find in itself. The impressive collection of stone tools, shell jewelry, pottery shards and other remnants of this ancient culture are still housed in wooden display cases built by the Clarkdale High woodworking class in 1934 accompanied by hand-painted interpretive materials. Very little of the exhibit seems to have changed since the site was developed in the 1930s as a WPA project, but that's part of the intrigue of this Verde Valley treasure.
Tuzigoot National Monument Hours: Open Daily 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Winter Hours: Call 928-634-5564 for visitor information.