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Montezuma Castle National Monument by Bill Bailey

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Bill Bailey Bill Bailey
Explore score
0.62 Gigapixels
Date added
Dec 29, 2009
Date taken
Dec 27, 2009

Located in the Southwestern United States Verde Valley 1.5 hours north of Phoenix Arizona is one of the best preserved Indian cliff dwellings in North America.

Montezuma Castle was one of the first four National Monuments dedicated in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The castle was built and used by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people circa 700 AD. The Hopi Indians, and some Navajos can trace their roots to immigrants from the Verdi Valley and Beaver Creek area. Some tribe members return on occasion to these older sites for religious ceremonies. Early European Americans (1850's) named these area after the Aztec emperor of Mexico "Montezuma", thinking the emperor had been involved in the construction of the site.
This 20 room 5 level high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a 1,000 year-old story of ingenuity and survival by the Sinagua Indian in an unforgiving desert landscape.
It is believed the Sinagua women actually built the entire structure and did all the farming as well.
Getting to the first level of the Castle is done using small holes in the floor of level two. These two dark, windowless rooms have low ceilings, requiring anyone but a child to squat low to move through them. They may have been used to store food, water and equipment for the residents who lived in the Castle.
The interior of the Castle is very dark. Most of the walls are covered in thick layers of soot deposited from hundreds of years of cooking and warming fires lit in each room. This soot covers layers of hand-coated adobe plaster used to seal and protect the structure. Fingerprints of the Castle's original inhabitants are still visible on walls containing original Sinagua plaster. These walls would have been continuously maintained by the Sinagua, with fresh applications of plaster covering older applications.

For more information on this historic treasure visit: www.nps.gov/moca Will open in a new tab or window

Gigapan Comments (2)

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  1. Dennis Angelica

    Dennis Angelica (January 29, 2010, 09:27AM )

    Wow this is a fantastic pano. I see you take your work seriously. Thank you for the view and info. I had no idea there used to be apartments 1000 yrs ago in the high desert.

  2. Tom Nelson

    Tom Nelson (December 29, 2009, 07:21PM )

    Welcome, Bill. Nice pano!

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