12_pic.jpg Nearby HomesThumbnailsBallcourt Interpretative Panel

The reconstructed ballcourt was an unusual structure. Known ballcourts in the Southwest were not masonry. This court may have had multiple functions: a place where special ceremonies were held, where competitive games took place for socialization, or where children played a game of stick and ball, similar to hockey. After rains, it may have served as a reservoir.

Some archaeologists think valuables changed hands through ritual events such as ball games. People living to the south (Hohokam tradition) had shells, salt, cotton, and a ballcourt in every town. People to the east in the Chaco region (Ancestral Puebloan tradition) has Mesoamerican macaws, copper, and turquoise to trade. A ballcourt at Wupatki could function as a link between distant regions. Trade valuables from both regions ended up here.

Sandals trod far and wide, maintaining trade networks that helped meet mutual needs and improved the quality of life. When materials, innovations, and ideas came to communities, all knew what others had to offer.

Meghann M. Vance, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories
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