What does the name Tuzigoot mean?
Tuzigoot is the anglicization of an Apache phrase that's usually translated as "crooked water." In Apache, the name is Tú Digiz, and it was given to this site in 1934 by Ben Lewis, an Apache man who worked on the excavation of the pueblo. It's pronounced TOO-zee-goot.
What tribe of Indians lived here?
The people who built the pueblo lived here long enough ago that modern tribal divisions are hard to apply. Archeologists call them the "Sinagua," and they are ancestors of the Hopi, Navajo, Yavapai, and Apache, among others.
Spanish explorers who passed through this region in the 1500s were surprised that the San Francisco Peaks had so little water, so they named them, "las montañas sin agua," the dry mountains. As archeological excavations began in the area centuries later, the name was used for the people who lived here and their culture.
There are 97 ground level rooms at Tuzigoot, plus several upper-story rooms, for a total of about 110.
The latest estimate is that about 250 people lived here at any given time.
When was Tuzigoot built?
The earliest datable rooms at Tuzigoot were built around 1000 years ago
Yes. At least 50 large pueblos have been discovered in the Verde Valley.
Ground floor rooms had hatchways through the roofs and were entered using ladders. The upper rooms probably had doorways through the side.
People moved out of this pueblo in the mid-1400s, and we're not entirely sure why. There is some evidence of climate change around that time which may have impaced agriculture, and other theories that have been suggested are drought, disease, warfare, or politics. Some descendants of the Sinagua say that it was just time to move on to a new home.
There is evidence to indicate that many of them migrated to the northeast to join the Hopi, while others moved to the south and integrated into other settlements there.
Bones, feathers, and petroglyphs of macaws have been found at Tuzigoot and other Sinagua sites in the region. Because the native range of macaws is far to the south of here, this tells us that these people traveled and had trade connections as far south as Central America.
Last updated: May 18, 2021