About Volcanoes and Ancient Peoples

Flagstaff, Sunday 13th and Monday 14th, May 2012

Landmarks in Arizona are not just places where nature prevails. Witnesses are these National Monuments we visited the last two days. Ancient peoples lived northeast of what is now Flagstaff and built dwellings for which few traces remain through the efforts of the National Park Service. However, we must deplore the fact that before the creation of these protected sites, looters and weekend treasure hunters destroyed or seized artifacts that could certainly shed more light on the lifestyle of ancient people. The Sinaguas, Cohoninas, Kayenta Anasazis and other people gathered here around a volcano that erupted in 1100 to grow gardens on the arid land, to barter objects and exchange between them. For a about a hundred years thousands of people have inhabited this land that become somewhat fertile because of volcanic ash.

Even today the Hopis and Navajos consider this land as sacred and believe that the spirits of its original inhabitants are still present. Some members of these communities come back from time to time to seek spiritual reinforcement.

We don’t know how these people disappeared, but we know a little of their lifestyle centered on exchange and pooling of resources between individuals and peoples of the area.

The three sites visited, all National Monuments, are:

  • Walnut Canyon (whose inhabitants lived in houses in the canyon cliffs)
  • Sunset Crater Volcano
  • Wupatki
  • To learn more about the people of Wupatki, you can download a pdf document produced by the National Park Services : Wupatki
  • Link for Sunset Crater
  • Link for Walnut Canyon

This text is also available in : English

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