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Reconstructed Rooms, 1930s vs. 2011

17_pic.jpg A Ready-made RoomThumbnailsRoof Beams

Park rangers once lived in this pueblo. The two rooms above were reconstructed to house employees Jimmy and Sallie Brewer, and Davy and Corky Jones during the 1930s. They hauled water from the nearby spring, but had the luxury of cooking with propane. Jones excavated a small adjoining storage room to house a gas refrigerator; commercial electricity did not arrive until 1959. The government, of course, charged them rent - $10 per month!

"Those were the two rooms we were to live in. At the top of the ladder was the room used as a bedroom and office, and (to the right) the beautiful sunny little kitchen. The water was in a barrel behind a niche in the kitchen wall... Davy pumped the water in once a week, fifty-five gallons, and that sufficed for everything. We took our baths there unless it was a special occasion, when we would go down to where the spring ran out to the sheep troughs. There was more water that way, but there were apt to be sheep and Navajos, too." -Corky Jones, from Letters from Wupatki

Reconstructed rooms may help us to visualize the past and identify more closely with the inhabitants. But, the mental images we construct and conclusions we draw likely mirror our present rather than reflect the world in which they lived.

Reconstructions lead us to believe we know the past, when in reality, so much will never be known. Like other reconstructions, these walls and roofs were removed in the 1950s.

Meghann M. Vance, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories
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