The physical setting of Wupatki, with its vast undeveloped vistas, unpolluted air, clear dark nights, solitude, and quiet, provides a rare opportunity to glimpse something of the prehistoric experience. Modern intrusions are few and distant. Visibility can extend to 60 miles or more. And the silence is deafening. In many respects, this setting would seem familiar to the builders of Wupatki Pueblo.
As the population of the western United States continues to grow, opportunities to view a natural landscape, to enjoy a night sky unpolluted by city lights, and to encounter natural quiet are becoming increasingly rare. As these opportunities decrease elsewhere, the value of Wupatki’s natural vistas and soundscapes increases in importance. Places like this provide a rare baseline against which we can measure the effects of approaching urbanization.