3D Cliff Dwelling Models – Tonto National Monument

3D models of portions of the lower and upper cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument created with Structure from Motion photogrammetry. A few notes before you go any further:

  1. These are very large models, and it is recommended that they only be viewed on a desktop or laptop PC with a high-speed Internet connection. The viewing experience on a phone or tablet is likely to be unsatisfactory, and they will consume a large fraction of any cellular bandwidth quota.
  2. Even on a high-speed connection, the models may take a minute to fully load.
  3. To load a model, click on the “play” icon on top of the image.
  4. Once loaded, click and drag to rotate the model. Use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out. Click on the double arrow in the lower right hand corner to switch to full screen mode.
  5. On most models, only a single surface will be valid, e.g. for the rooms only the interior surface is valid; the apparent outer surface is just a reflection of the inner surface.
  6. On some models, you will see missing or blurry sections; these are areas that could not be reached by camera, so the model is incomplete there.

Lower ruin
3D model of the accessible portions of the lower cliff dwelling.

Upper ruinExterior of upper cliff dwelling.

In the back of the cave where the cliff dwelling is located, adjacent to a large community area, there is a small water seep active during wet periods. The residents built a small cistern wall there to collect water during those periods.

The “Reed Roof room”. Unique because most of the roofs  used saguaro ribs, but this one uses reeds. The main beams are walnut and sycamore. Reeds and sotol  (aka desert spoon) were woven into a mat, laid on top as a ceiling. The main vertical support beam is pinyon pine or juniper. Zoom in to enter the interior.

Only one decorative element was found at either of the two cliff dwellings, this spiral motif etched in wet mud during construction of one of the rooms at the upper cliff dwelling.

The first floor roof is tilted due to settling of rock surface it was built on. As the community grew, rooms were added; here, a 2nd floor was added and leveled off.

Central room.

SE room.

This large room, adjacent to the community area in the rear of the cave, only had access through the (now-missing) roof. It was probably a community room, not residential. The heavy soot on the walls may have come from fires/cooking, but there is some historical evidence that it was burnt by looters or vandals.

SW room.