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Tuzigoot National Monument, Arizona

(NPS Photo) A pueblo village on a desert hilltop at Tuzigoot National Monument

The Sinaqua Indians built the first buildings of what is now known as Tuzigoot around A.D. 1000. They expanded their village or pueblo until it consisted of 110 rooms, including second and third story structures.

In 1932, a survey party led by Earl Jones brought Tuzigoot to national attention. The following year, the Arizona State Museum and the Yavapi County Chamber of Commerce Archaeological Committee sponsored excavations at Tuzigoot under the direction of archeologists Louis R. Caywood and Edward H. Spicer. This work continued with the assistance of Federal Emergency Relief Labor, a work relief program during the Great Depression. The Civil Works Administration took over the project and it continued under the Caywood, Spicer, Harry T. Getty, and Gordon C. Baldwin.

Through the interest of local citizens, on July 25, 1939 the entire hill of Tuzigoot and its complete museum and collections was donated to the federal government by the Verde School District. On this same date, Tuzigoot National Monument was established by Presidential Proclamation on 43 acres of land for “historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of historic or scientific interest” (Proc. No. 2344).

Today, approximately 116,000 people every year visit Tuzigoot National Monument. The site includes the 86-room pueblo dating to the 13th and 12th centuries that was first excavated by Caywood and Spicer. One of archeologists’ major projects today is their involvement in work to remove the cement previously used to stabilize the structure. This now-outdated treatment will be replaced with a more preservation- and historically-appropriate surface. Visitors can follow trails to the pueblo and see at the visitor center some of the Monument’s 22,000 artifacts, including lithics, oyas, ceramics and more.

Recent visitors to Tuzigoot had the following to say about what was most memorable or significant about their trip:

  • “We had been to a number of ruins, we were impressed with the size of Tuzigoot and the manner in which artifacts were displayed and described in the museum.”
  • “Seeing my children talk about connecting things they were seeing to things they learned in school.”
  • “Great that remains are still in place”
  • “The archeological site – the vista from the top story of the structure – looking out across the land or walking through the site, I always like to imagine what it was like for the people who once dwelled there. I note how compact the rooms are (were) and how the people went about their daily routine, also, maybe how safe they felt up on the hill.”
  • “Seeing and learning about a different culture and way of life in the past”
  • “Didn’t realize we had Indian ruins in such good condition”
    “Sharing history with my children”
  • “We cannot emphasize enough the importance of preserving these sites and the development of accurate knowledge of ancient cultures.”

(Responses from: Visitor Survey Final Technical Report, Montezuma Castle and
Tuzigoot National Monuments)



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