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Terraced Rooms

wupatki_pueblo2.jpg Introduction to the TrailThumbnailsBisected Oval

Notice how people shaped their lives to this land. Sun, water, wind, and earth influenced decisions. Using the red sandstone outcrop as a backbone, and its naturally fractured blocks as bricks, masons laid stone rooms up and down the length of the formation. High walls on the north and west sides blunted prevailing winds. Terraced rooms to the south and east bathed in winter sun. Flat roofs served as water systems, collecting precipitation and directing it to storage pots.

Wupatki Pueblo stood three stories high in places. Double walls were filled with a rubble core and were about 6 feet (2 meters) high; roofs were constructed with timbers, cross-laid with smaller beams or reeds, and finished with grass and mud. There were no exterior doorways at ground level.

Built out in the open, Wupatki is far more typical of 12th century structures than a cliff dwelling. Cliff dwellings make up only a fraction of known southwestern archeological sites.

"...The family, the dwelling house and the field are inseparable, because the woman is the heart of these, and they rest with her... The man builds the house but the woman is the owner, because she repairs and preserves it." -A Hopi view of the community, presented to "the Washington Chiefs," 1894

Dan Boone/Ryan Belnap, Bilby Research Center, Northern Arizona University
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