Montezuma Castle Cliff Dwellings

How would you like to live right on the cliffs?  As a mom, I think I’d be always nervous of my little ones falling over the side.

It required 4 different ladders to climb up to this 5 level structure.  The top level was a patio with a pony wall handrail.  At the back was another wall behind which was a room that went 33 feet into the side of the mountain.  Up to 35 people lived in this ‘castle’, of course they had much different ideas & requirements about personal space.

the castle

the castle

These dwellings of the Sinagua are situated here likely for protection from enemies, positioned for solar heat in the winter and summer protection.  Fewer walls needed to be constructed when taking advantage of the caves.  River rock & limestone were held together with mud mortar to build alcoves and partitions, and mud plaster covered the walls.  For floors and beams they mostly used Arizona Sycamore trees along with other types to subsidize.  Near Beaver Creek  they used it for irrigating their crops of corn

meandering trails that provide just enough shade on a hot Arizona day

meandering trails that provide just enough shade on a hot Arizona day

Arizona Sycamore trees were used for lumber in building

Arizona Sycamore trees were used for floors and beams

From about 1350 – 1400 it is believed that the people started to leave this valley for neighbouring pueblos.  Why they left is unknown.  Maybe disease.  Maybe changing weather patterns, or the depleting fertility of the soil.  Maybe things just looked greener elsewhere.

stone wall b:w

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Montezuma Castle Cliff Dwellings

  1. That is a really neat place; we enjoyed it very much when Lynn took us there. And I LOVED the sycamore trees; so stately.

  2. Pingback: Pueblo 1: Wukoki Ruins (Arizona) | Acrobatic Thoughts

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