Tsankawi Trail Stop 13

Tsankawi Trail Stop 13
Panoramic views from the mesa top

NPS Photo by Stella Carroll

In today’s real estate market there is a saying that the three most important things when buying a home are “location, location, location”. Although like us the Ancestral Pueblo people may have enjoyed the panoramic views from this mesatop setting this site was probably chosen for more than just its aesthetics. Outcroppings of volcanic tuff provided materials for home construction. The soft tuff also allowed the creation of small carved rooms (cavates). Small fields in the valley below yielded crops of beans, corn, and squash.

Today there is no permanent source of water at Tsankawi. Prior to the development of the modern community of Los Alamos, there may have been a permanent stream in the canyon to the north. Having a reliable source of water nearby would have been very important to the people living at Tsankawi. Although there is no evidence of warfare or strife here, mesa-top locations may have been chosen for defensive purposes and for enhanced communications with nearby villages.

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Last updated: February 24, 2015

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